Sunday, July 1, 2012 - 10:45am
Sermon Series: 
Bible Reference: 
Exodus 20:7




So we are in this sermon series on the Ten Commandments.  We are looking to help build the right foundational values into our children.  Today we are going to look at the Third Commandment in our sermon series building Family Values on the Ten Commandments.  The third commandment could be paraphrased, God says, “Take my name seriously”. 

        Paul Dickinson has written a book called Names. He has a hobby of collecting strange and unusually names. He says sometimes names seem to be prophetic. In 1941 there were two men who were executed in the electric chair in the Florida state penitentiary and their names were Will Burn and Will Frizzle. Recently there was a Montreal window washer who died by accident, falling as he was washing windows. His name was Will Drop. Others, he says, seem destined for certain occupations. Joe Bunt became a baseball coach. Dan Druff became a barber. Jeff Treadwell became a podiatrist. Goforth and Ketchum, two guys, became police officers and partners. O'Neill and Pray became partners in church equipment.  A plaster contractor, Will Crumble.

        There is a lot to a name.  God is concerned with our use of His name.  Look with me at Exodus 20:7.


Exodus 20:7  "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.


Now why is God so sensitive about His name? According to one preacher, a name represents your reputation, character, authority.  (Dr. Miles Seaborn)

          It represents your reputation. You've heard people say, "He's making a name for himself." When somebody has a good reputation they say "He's got a good name."

A name also represents your character. If you refer to someone as a “Benedict Arnold” you are referring to their character.  Many times in the Bible when somebody changed their character, God gave them a new name. Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel, Simon became Peter. God would change their names because it better represented their character.

And, a name represents authority. When a policeman stops you he says, "Stop in the name of the law." Why? Because there is authority behind that name. If you received a call from a George Brown while you were eating dinner you might have him call back later. But if his name were George Bush you would probably take the call right then. Names have a representation of authority.

God says when you misuse His name it's a big deal because you're defaming His reputation, ridiculing His character and mocking His authority.


Think with me about the Lord’s Prayer.  Jesus prays, “Hallowed be thy NAME”.  Jesus is putting an emphasis on God’s name.  Jesus is proclaiming that God’s name is holy.  Not just His actions, or His character, or His miracle.  His name is holy and it is important that we teach this truth to next generation. 




Let me show you four ways we misuse God’s name.  There are others, but we will focus on these four. 


A.  As an Expression

First, we misuse God’s name when we use it as a crude expression.  This is when you use God’s name along with profanity to express irritation. Somebody said if cussing and cheating were crimes then golf would be illegal. I want you to know that your pastor is human, but he has never once cussed on a golf course.  I have spit a couple of times and killed the grass, but I have never cussed. 

I heard about a farmer who was late getting home for dinner. His wife said, "Did the wagon break down?" The farmer said, "No, but on the way home I offered a ride to the preacher and from that point on the mules didn't understand a word I said."

The fact is weak people have to use big words to impress others. Anybody can swear. It takes no intellect, no IQ, no education. You can teach a parrot to swear. It doesn't show maturity or manliness. It's stupid. But we do it.

It takes maturity to discipline your speech. It takes discipline to not swear. It shows maturity and self-control not to let it fly.  God says don’t misuse His Name. 


B.  To Manipulate

The religious among us use God’s name in vain by manipulating and intimidating so they get their way.  They say "God told me what we should do." "God told me what's wrong with you." "God told me you're supposed to lend me money." Dishonest TV evangelists do this all the time. "God said, if you don't send in $1000 bucks we're going to pull the plug on this ministry." Well, pull it and stop manipulating people.

Parents do this also. They try restriction and taking away allowance.  They even try spanking. Finally they pull out the big stick and say, "If you keep doing that God is going to get you!" That's using God’s name to manipulate and intimidate your children. 

Spouses can do this in a marriage. "I've prayed about this and God has spoken to me and God wants us to buy this boat." How are you going to argue with God?  That is simply manipulation and intimidation.


C.  To Impress

        Another way we misuse God’s name is to impress.  Insecure believers do this a lot. They often try to prove how spiritual they are by their jargon, by using continuous religious phrases, spiritual clichés. They feel like the more they use the name of Jesus in a sentence then the more spiritual they must be.  Oftentimes, I've met people who want to impress the preacher.  "Bless God, that was a great sermon, Hallelujah, thank you Jesus..." Religious words don't impress, but gracious humility and a selfless service do. Don’t ramble on using Christian jargon trying to impress people with your spirituality. All you are doing is turning God into a cliché.


D.  Impulsively

Final example, we use God’s name impulsively as a figure of speech.  This is one trap many believers fall into. When you use God's name as a convenient expression of fear or anger or joy or amazement or surprise, God says it is wrong. "Oh my God, I caught a 10-pound bass!" "Suzy's pregnant! O, my Lord!"

You're reducing God’s name to a level of a Wow! or a Far out! Don't make God an exclamation point. God says when you use my name, you take it seriously. Don't use it flippantly. 



The Bible talks about the name of God and tells us how to properly handle it.     

        Let me show you three ways.

A.  Reverence God’s Name

First, reverence God’s name.  Treat it with the utmost respect. Use it carefully. Use it lovingly. Use it as an act of worship. Don't just let it slip out flippantly. When you say "God", mean it in your heart. 


Ps. 29:2 " Give unto the Lord the glory due to His NAME; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."


Ps. 34:3 - Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His NAME together


Ps. 34:3 - Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His NAME together


That is why I don't go see R rated movies. I respect the name of God too much. The sex scenes and violence bother me, but really the greater offence is the taking of God's name. I'm not going to sit through a movie while the Creator of the Universe's name is being dragged through the mud. I'm certainly not going to pay to hear the name of Jesus tossed around in disrespect and disgrace.

People say "It doesn't bother me, I’ve gotten used to it." Well, it bothers God or He would not have included in the Top Ten, and if it bothers God it ought to bother you. 


B.  Represent God’s Name

Secondly, represent God’s name rightly.  Our lifestyle can misuse the name of God. If you call yourself a believer act like one. If you're going to call yourself a Christian don't drag Christ's name through the mud by your lifestyle. Your walk needs to match your talk. If you're a believer, your actions should represent God.  

II Timothy 2:19 " But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.”

There are two reasons why many people never come to Christ. First, they've never met a Christian who could tell them how to be saved. Secondly, they met a Christian who was one in name only.

The truth is there are people all around you watching and evaluating your speech and your actions and they're checking to see how you're different in your life style. So guard your mouth, guard your actions and guard your attitudes.

You are a God commercial – be a good one


C.  Rely on God’s Name

        Finally, the Bible tells us to honor God’s name by trusting in and relying on Him. 


Ps. 33:21 "No wonder we are happy in the Lord. We trust His Holy Name."


Whatever you do you should do it in the name of the Lord, trusting and relying on His name. Jesus said, "If you ask anything in My name I will do it." Why do we pray "In Jesus' name"? Because you don't have any right to come to God on your own. God is perfect and holy and you're not. Only a perfect person can come into His presence. I don't have any right on my own to come to God and say, "God this is what I need and request." Through Christ I can. He's the bridge. And Jesus said, we're to pray in His name. It's a reminder that He is the bridge and we don't come on our own power, we come in His power and His grace.


Do you know this God behind the Name?