Opening Activity: Read Psalm 34:1-3 and the third commandment.
Taking God's name in vain means treating it like it was empty of meaning and of no significance. The opposite is exalting it, which is to lift it up and regard it as of the greatest significance.
How Do We Profane God’s Name?
I. By Expletives and Euphemisms
The first way we profane God’s name is when we use it as a swear word or expletive. This includes euphemisms (i.e. shortened or “substituted” words) like OMG, gosh (God), geez (Jesus).
Why is it that we tend to use God’s name this way? We do not use Hitler’s name in such a way. It is simply a (subconscious?) expression of our utter disregard for God.
II. By Degrading All Things Associated with God
But it is not limited to the respective names of God alone. God’s name refers to anything reveals God or is associated with God’s name.
Names in the Bible were mainly revelatory.
So, when the commandment mentions God’s name, it indicates anything by which God makes Himself known, be it His names, titles, attributes, word, works, ordinances (worship, sacraments, church officers, etc).
How many ways do we break this commandment now? It is virtually infinite!
III. By Hypocritical & Ungodly Lives
Christians take God’s name upon their lips when they make a public profession of faith. They are also baptized into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Michael Moriarty says that the third commandment has to do with God’s reputation. As the Proverbs say, “A good name is to be desired more than riches.” When we become a Christian we are taking God’s name. If we do not act appropriately in the world, we disparage God’s name and ruin his reputation.
False doctrines and hypocrisy ruin God’s name by giving the world reason to hate God and spurn his grace.
IV. By Breaking Oaths & Vows
The oath is one of the primary things in view in this commandment. To take God’s name in the ancient world was to swear an oath. If a Christian vows to do something, God’s name is at stake. Some oaths are even so solemn that they will place their hand on a Bible. (Deut. 23:21-23; Psalm 15:4; Matthew 5:37)
Why is this commandment such a big deal?
The Lord tells us why: "The Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain." In other words, death and condemnation will result.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism explains this part of the commandment well when it says, "Though the breakers of this commandment may escape the judgments of men, the Lord will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment” (WSC #56).
Read: 2 Kings 2:23-24; 1 Corinthians 11:29-30;
You will likely find that you break this commandment a lot. You will realize that your daily speech is rather profane. May this study help you not just to see your sin, but to really turn from it to true holy speech.
I'm excited to report that our Sunday evening worship group has grown significantly since my last update a month ago. We now have over 20 families who are on board (with children that totals just over 70 people!). We also have about 25-30 other people who have expressed some other varying level interest! Wowsa!
It seems that a good group of musicians is coming together too. It looks like we may be able to have 3-4 teams. This would be great as it would provide a rotation of each team playing once a month and not place the burden on any one person or group.
Being that we seem to have established a solid core of people, I have set a tentative start date for Sunday March 6th. I thought this would be good as it will be after much of the cold and dark of winter has subsided! It will allow us a good amount of time to get all the details in order.
One of those details is a venue. I've started looking into a place to hold the services around the Ashland area. I have a couple leads, but nothing solid yet. I will keep you informed as things develop.
Of course, we welcome others to continue to join us. I created a website and a Facebook event invite for it. Feel free to check those out and pass them on on as you see fit.
If you are interested in being a part, make sure you join our email list. That way you can stay up to date on how things progress!
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.