The THIRD Commandment:
Do Not Misuse My Name
The moral laws of God given on Mount Sinai under the most awesome circumstances were not only for the benefit of the nation of Israel, but also for the entire human race for all time. So significant were these TEN Moral Laws that they are repeated for us some 109 times in the New Testament.
In this message, we come to the third commandment found in Exodus 20:7, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
The First commandment tells us WHOM we are to worship. No man should worship any god but God, “there shall not be to you any other gods beyond Me.” There are some who break this commandment.
The Second commandment tells us HOW we are to worship. Namely God is not to be represented by any image. We are to have “No Idols.” Jesus said in John 4:24, “…God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must do so in Spirit and in truth.” This commandment is broken by many.
The Third commandment tells us to be CAREFUL how we use God’s name. “His name is not to be taken in vain.” There is to be a reverence of the name of God. Psalm 111:9 says, “Holy and reverent is his name.” However, nearly all break this third commandment.
Our society is inundated with foul-mouthed, gutter, profane and vile language. Even among Christian believer’s we have such profane language. It seems today everyone is taking the name of God in vain. You hear God’s name ill spoken of in person, on Radio, on TV, and in public speech. So when did this practice begin to take hold of our media world.
Listen to what one said, “It began in 1976 when the Hollywood entertainment world decided to lower the barrier and sink deeper and deeper into the mire of depravity allowing the blasphemy of God’s name to take place, waiting to hear the out-roar, the response of the America people to say we will not put up with that kind of language. They waited, and they waited, and they waited, and none came. The American people were silent. Now we are up to our ears in this profane language on TV as we have become desensitized by the media to one more form of evil.
When you hear a familiar name, any familiar name, thoughts and associations immediately surface in your mind, do they not? Why? Because people’s names represent something. If a name represents a person’s character and reputation, why then is profanity used with the names of God?
One of the definitions for the word PROFANE speaks of “debasing or defiling that which is holy or worthy of reverence.”
It’s an attack against something HOLY.
When I profane God, I am seeking to bring Him down to my level, so I can reduce Him to being nothing more than I am.
That is a grave and serious business, so serious God gave us the third Commandment. Why would He include this commandment?
God gave us this commandant for the sake of who we are. My friends, it makes a great deal of difference how you and I speak the name of God and understand who God is. God is the giver of life, He is our creator.
When God is diminished, being held in mockery, and in irreverence; when God is dragged down into the dirt, what you get is not the death of God rather you get the death of man. When the life of the life-giver is held in contempt, then the life of man is also held in contempt and becomes as cheap as grains of sand.
And since God is dead in the minds of men today with the abortions of babies and the euthanasia of the old, besides the millions that are being slaughtered by ruthless dictators in the past century right on up into today, we have not the death of God but the death of man.
I have discovered it is the little man who has such a vile mouth. It is the little man who tries to put God down to his size so he can lift himself up, to try to impress people that he (the little man) is something big. But in the sight of decent men, he is only trying to make himself contemptuous in the sight of an all holy God.
God has given us this commandment for the sake of who God is. God is our creator. He has given us life. He has given us minds and ears and eyes. He has given us a mouth where with to speak.
And how shall we use this tongue? The answer is found in the very first question given in catechism as to the reason why you are here; why I am here, “The chief end of man is to glorify God.” And when you profane that name you are doing the very opposite of the reason God put you here which is, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”
Remember the first partition of the prayer outline Jesus taught His disciples? “Our Father which art in Heaven, Hollowed be Thy name.” This should be the first prayer of every hour of every day that our lives might glorify God; to hold Him in reverence as the altogether glorious being He is.
At least the Jew of the Old Testament knew how Holy God’s name was. The scribe’s who copied the Bible by hand had many, many complex rules which enabled them to copy the scriptures very carefully and accurately.
One of these occurred when they would come to a secondary name for God, such as “El, Elshadai, or Elohim,” they would stop to put down their pen and take a new pen to carefully write that name.
But when they came to the principle name God used to reveal Himself, which is the name “Jehovah” or the Hebrew name which is “Yahweh,” they would rise from their seats, go into their personal quarters, take off their robes, take a bath, clothe themselves with new clean garments, return, kneel down, confess their sins, take a new pen, dunk it once into the ink well and write those letters “Yehweh.”
My friends, compare that to the way we sling His name like mud against the walls of our conversation. We, the slimey worms of this earth, dare to blaspheme the name of omnipotence. What depravity of heart is revealed? O I have heard the excuses people use:
Sorry, you know it is just a bad habit.
I did not realize I was doing it.
What does it mean when it says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain…?” The words, “in vain” mean “emptiness, to take it up for no purpose,” as it is of no significance or consequence. That is exactly what the word means and that is exactly what some of you do.
Furthermore, this is a sin without provocation; it is a sin without temptation. When we are having a tough time, we ought to call upon the Almighty, the creator of the universe for help, instead of cursing His name.
You have heard it, as I have, people who over and over again say G-D this and G-d that, G-D this car, G-D this food, G-D whatever.
You know, if I am offended by that, as I do not want God to dam whatever, how much more offended is the God of the universe, who gave you the breath of life and keeps your heart beating?
I have had people say G-D this or that and then turn to me and realize they have said such in my presence, and then say, “O, I am sorry for saying that in front of you.” No, my friends you do not owe me an apology, rather you owe God an apology. Isn’t it amazing that practical atheism is revealed by a person who is concerned he may have offended a clergyman, but is not concerned he has offended the omnipotent God?
On the other hand I have had people say, “Well, I grew up around this kind of talk, and what comes out of my mouth is really no indication of what is in my heart.” Yet Jesus repeatedly said what comes out of our mouths is linked to what is in our hearts.
Matthew 12:34-35, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”
Matthew 15:18, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile a man.”
Admit it or not, like it or not, the mouth speaks what is in the heart. The way you talk is the way your heart is, and the Lord knows that.
You cannot say, “Well, she has a vile mouth but a good heart.” No, she does not!
You can not say, “Well, he’s got a problem with bad language, but he really does have a heart of gold.” No, he does not.
I’m sorry, but according to the Lord’s own words, that cannot be. The Bible says that the way an individual speaks is an accurate barometer of his or her heart. It is a reminder to me that SWEARING speaks of disorder and turmoil in the heart. You find an angry and profane person, and I will show you one whose life is out of order.
Perhaps you say, Pastor “I do not talk that way. I do not swear. I would never take God’s name in vain. I am a Christian, and I would never talk that way.” But there are other ways to use His name in vain, what some would call socially acceptable ways to profane Him.
We dishonor God’s name by using substitute swear words or using God’s name in a joking way. How often have I heard someone right in the middle of a conversation, without any thought say, “Jesus Christ”. That my friends is swearing using God’s name in vain, or for empty use.
By the way have you ever thought what the word “Gosh” really means? The word “Gosh” is a substitute word for God. “Golly” is an euphemism for God and the word “Gee” is a form of Jesus. I believe it is time even Christians clean up their language.
We dishonor God’s name by making empty vows that we do not intend to keep. For example “I have God as my witness.” or “So help me God.” Listen, you have no right to stand before others and say that, when you know very well you are lying through your teeth. James 5:12 says, “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”
We dishonor God’s name when we become careless in our prayers. Remember in Matthew 6 the Lord cautions us against using “vain repetitions” in our praying. Vain means empty, saying things over and over without convictions. Someone said, “The profanity of the sanctuary is infinitely worse than the profanity of the street. The prayer that is denied by the life, the praise offered to God which is contracted by rebellion against Him when the hour of that praise has passed away, that is blasphemy, that is taking God’s name in vain.”
We dishonor God’s name by professing Him in name but denying Him in actions. In Isaiah 29:13-15 we dishonor God’s name when we worship Him with our lips, but not with our hearts. “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: (14) Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. (15) Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?”
We take the name of God in vain when we accept it and allow ourselves to be called Christians, but do not live godly lives. How often in church folks will sing, “I surrender all to Jesus,” but do not mean it. Or they will sing, “Oh, how I love Jesus,” yet their heart and mind and life lived is far from loving Jesus. Think about it.
Do you realize this is the only commandment that contains a threatened punishment? God is serious about His name, so he says, “…for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” For those who will hold God’s name in contempt and drag it through the mud there is a penalty. Because He knows every time His name is profaned, incredible destruction comes into my life and the lives of those I love.
This is not a threat this is a statement of fact. As one said, “This is the calm awful fact of eternity.” If you take the name of God in vain, it is a fact God will not hold you guiltless. What does that mean, “not hold us guiltless”? It means we shall not go unpunished. There may be more to God’s order of things than many people think. When people say, “G-D this or G-d that,” I do not think they have any real idea of what they just said. I do not think they have any concept that these words do not fall on deaf ears.
In Matthew 12:36-37 we read, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
Someone said, “You can’t use the Lord’s name in vain and not pay a price. Using God’s name in vain is a very, very expensive thing to do.”
Oh, but Pastor, I do this over and over again and nothing has happened to me yet. May I remind you, “You do not reap in the same season in which you sow.” When we use the name of God to “damn” or condemn a person or place or situation, I believe we set in motion a spirit beyond our finite understanding. I am absolutely confident many people are experiencing the results of this sin, and have no idea why it is happening. How many times have you heard people say, “Why did this happen to me?”
Why did my child die?
What did my wife leave me?
Why did my husband abandon me?
Why did I lose this job?
Why do I have this sickness or that illness that is rotting my body?
Why are terrible things happening in my life, What did I do?
The lament is coming out between lips stained with blaspheme, and they do not even know why. O, foolish man, are you blind, are you deaf, have you no mind, have you not heard what the Lord has said? “…for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
Why in the world would God say, I want my name to be reverenced, to be precious to you? Why would He make such a point of never using that name in a casual way? Think of this – there is eternal redemption in the name.
In John 20:31 we read, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his NAME.”
In Acts 4:12 we read, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other NAME under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
In Romans 10:13 we read, “For whosoever shall call upon the NAME of the Lord shall be saved.”
In Philippians 2:9-11 speaking of the exaltation of Jesus we read, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a NAME which is above every NAME: That at the NAME of Jesus every knee should bow…and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God.”
“There have been NAMES that I love to hear,
But never has there been a NAME so dear
To the heart of mine, as the NAME devine,
The precious, precious NAME of Jesus.
Jesus is the sweetest NAME I know,
And He’s just the same as His lovely NAME
And that’s the reason why I love Him so
Oh, Jesus is the sweetest NAME I know.”
You need to speak out for the glory of God, fall in love with the God who so loved you while you were once a vile sinner condemned and on your way to a Christ-less eternity, but by the grace of God by faith you trusted in the finished work of Christ for you at Calvary and Jesus became your Saviour. Falling in love with God should change your language from cursing to praising.
If you curse God you do not have a heart of love for God, you have a heart of sin. If you can sink to this low of human depravity, this only shows what contempt you hold of Christ; this only shows what contempt you hold of God. And God will pronounce judgment upon you.
Do you love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, or has your mouth betrayed you? My friends, if your mouth has betrayed you, then perhaps you need to come to Christ and receive Him as your personal Savior. For only then will you want to Glorify Him, to hallow His name. As you do, you will be singing,
“Praise Him, Praise Him, Jesus our blessed Redeemer,
Sing O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
Hail Him, Hail Him, highest archangel in Glory
Strength and honor given HIS HOLY NAME!”
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon, The THIRD Commandment: “Do Not Misuse My Name,” then right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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