Summary: Is there more to taking the Lord’s name in vain than with our speech?
• What’s in a name? How many of you when you were kids were told about how important it was for you not to tarnish the family name by doing something really stupid?
• A Chinese friend of ours who we met in Macomb told us that in China when young people would get out of line with public displays of affection they would take the young people to the police station along with their families and the authorities would berate the family for hours over how the incident brought shame on them. How the parents failed the children and the community.
• What’s in a name? The Third Commandment addresses that issue. If you remember in the first of God’s ten “statements” God establishes His authority for giving us the rest of His commands. He also established the fact He has a relationship with the nation of Israel at that time. In the second statement of command, God tells us we must put Him first.
• This Third Commandment is going to take us a bit deeper than it looks on the outside. The Third Commandment goes right to the character of God and how God expects us to respect and reflect that character in what we say and do in life.
• What does God really mean when He tells us not to take his name in vain? Is there more to it than forbidding foul language?
• Let us look at Exodus 20:7!
I. WE CAN BREAK THIS COMMAND WITH OUR LANGUAGE
• When we read the Third Commandment, the first thing many of us think of is cursing. We hear people invoking God’s name in ways that we know God would not like. We see it everywhere.
• I do not think many people think about what they are saying when they do this. They do not understand just how disrespectful it is to God when they do this. Many Christian’s understand this usage of God’s name as the main issue of the Third Commandment.
• This is one way in which we can break the Third Commandment.
• God does not want us to use His name as a curse word. I know many Christians who struggle with this. This is something that demands our attention. If we are struggling with our language, we need to prayerfully learn to control it.
• Doing something in vain means we are doing something useless. When we use the Lord’s name in vain we are using it in a way that is useless.
• We must also guard against sanitized versions of using God’s name in vain. This is something most everyone struggles with in some way. We need to do all we can to learn to control and eliminate the sanitized versions of using God’s name in vain and cursing from our language. (EXPLAIN)
• READ JAMES 3:8-10 EXPLAIN
B. False Swearing
• We can also take the name of the lord in vain by false swearing. This is the issue the scriptures speak of the most.
• LEV 19:12 ’You shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the Lord.
• JAM 5:12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.
• You hear people saying “I swear to God” or “As God is my witness.”
• James tells us that we should be people of our word so we do not have to swear. (James is not prohibiting swearing in a legal case)
• If we are people who can be trusted, we do not need anything behind it to verify the accuracy of what we are saying.
• If we make a promise, we do not need to swear to make it valid. A Christian is to be trustworthy.
C. Misuse of the name of God
• This follows closely to false swearing but it is a bit different.
• According to Dr. Laura in her book “The Ten Commandments” (p.65)- Ancient people viewed names as powerful tools that allowed people to control the gods and spirits beyond. The God of the Israelites was different from all other “gods”. His name was to be used in blessing and not in magical incantations. By invoking His name, people could not manipulate this God to do their will.
• Today we do the same sort of thing. Every time a politician uses the name of God in such a way to get votes, it is misusing God’s name. When we pray for things that we KNOW God will not honor we are misusing God’s name.