Summary: The first, foundational, sermon in a series on the Names of God. What is ’misusing the name of God?’ How should we avoid it? What about Oaths in court? What about crude talk- is this covered, here?

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Names of God 1: What’s in a name? Misusing the Name of the Lord. Deut 5:11 WBC 4 Sept 2005

A burglar broke into a house and began to steal all of the valuable. At that moment he heard a voice that said Jesus is watching you. He was so scared he froze for a second. He regained his composure and started stealing again, when the voice came louder Jesus is watching you. He just about lost it right there. After regaining his composure he began to steal again this time watching very intent around him when he heard the voice again this time he recognized a shape in the corner as he approached he realized it was a bird cage. He removed the cover to find a parrot. He was so relieved when he saw the parrot he said what is your name. The parrot replied "Moses". The thief then said what kind of person would name a parrot Moses? The parrot replied the same kind of person that named a Rottweiler "Jesus".


Today we start a new series on ’The Names of God’, of which there are stacks in the Bible

- I have a book of 3,400 (if you include anything after the words ’God is’ or ’I am’ eg Jer 17:10 ’I am the one who searches hearts’)

- We are going to look more closely at the ones that are clearly names… given as names ’The Lord my rock, shepherd, provider, healer’ etc. Moving on to ’Immanuel, prince of peace, Jesus as Christmas approaches

But first something foundational: what’s so special about a name, anyway… and God’s name in particular?

- Why are we to be more careful with His name than others? If I go "Oh Pam! Why can’t I go "Oh God!"

o (it’s strange-when you have His Spirit inside you it doesn’t even feel right to say that by way of illustration!)


God’s name is different. Unique

He tells us, if we honour Him, to not use His name carelessly or in vain

- and if we don’t honour Him it will be obvious by the way we use His name, too

o in fact- those who use His name the most respect Him the least, I reckon

" "Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God"

" I think : "no He isn’t!"

" This is a sermon for these days, and our TV and Youth… as this is commonplace language, now

" Shows where we are at

o Such language can be forgiven- but God says He won’t hold anyone blameless who misuses His name

But what kind of misuse is being spoken of here?


The first type is of a kind not so common in our society- basically because we are a society that doesn’t fear God.

It’s the "I swear to God I’ll do this or that, or didn’t do this or that" use of God’s name

- using His name as leverage… incentive… authentification of what we say

o actually, maybe it’s not so uncommon. People (Christians!) use God’s name as authentification for all kinds of their own ideas!

The misuse of God’s name for personal profit is easily applied to certain televangelists who use the name of God to make a buck off of overly trusting people, or politicians who mention God’s name in the right places and the right times in order to gain a certain constituency of voters. It is widely known that former president Richard Nixon courted evangelist Billy Graham’s personal friendship for political advantage. When Billy read the Watergate transcripts for the first time, chock-full of Nixon’s profanity, manipulation, cover-ups, and power plays, he became so upset that he went into the bathroom and vomited.

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