Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church
(11/3) Today we are going to look at the third commandment, in Exodus chapter 20, at verse 7, and as I was preparing for this message I began to wonder if we really know and really understand what it means? Because it seems as if most people either intentionally ignore or purposefully make a mockery of this command. So what does it means for us to use
the Lordís name in a bad way? Today so many people say Jesusí name negatively, publicly, loudly, and frequently; but what if we as a church were to get serious about God and ask how we might have been misusing the Lordís name?
Now to start, Iíve just got to ask this question, "How many of you had parents who would wash your mouth out with soap if you had a "dirty mouth"? You know, when you say a certain word and momís like, "Itís time to eat soap", right? So it didnít take long before I learned that there was a list of good words and bad words and if I said a bad word my mom
or dad would help fix it for me. Unfortunately it wasnít quite that simple. In fact, Iím very convinced that itís not, because I had a regular diet of (I think it was Dove) bar soap and spent many hours burping with bubbles coming out of my nose and mouthÖ and it wasnít soap that eventually cleansed my mouth, it was a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. He was that live
coal that cleansed my filthy lips (Isaiah 6:6).
So when it comes to the third commandment, hereís what Godís saying, we need to use good wordsÖ God wordsÖ for God things, because the God of the Bible is a God of glory. Yet when we treat him casually, using His name inconsequentially, just projecting and presenting God in an empty or meaningless way; heís not glorified; heís not exalted; heís not
honored; heís not holy and different from us; and we portray him as common and much like us. And so weíre disrespectful and blasphemous of the name of the Lord.
And sometimes, we do this by lots of religious talkÖ just sprinkling God talk in everything. You know like, "Itís Tuesday, praise the Lord!" or "Weíre having meatloaf tonight, praise the Lord!" So when we use the name of the Lord all the time, it becomes meaningless, weíve robbed it of its majesty, and itís losing its glory.
Here are a few other examples: How about social media and texting "OMG." What does that mean? Should we be throwing out "OMG" in our texts and our posts?
Or how about "GD"? Iím not going to say it; but you know what Iím talking about. You do something wrong, you stub your toe, you hit your thumb with a hammer, you drop the groceriesÖ Should we drop the "GD" bomb? How about a "JC" clipper?
You know whatís amazing, is that we donít ever say the name of another god. Iíve never heard anybody on the job siteÖ "Buddha!" Never heard "Hare Krishna!" Never heard that. You know why? Thereís no power in those names. We always go for the big nameÖ itís Jesusí name. Amen?
So today weíre going to consider, how we speak about God, because sometimes, even well-meaning Christians will violate the third commandment with false religious spiritual God talk that just kind of litters their lives. It just sort of comes out and they donít even think about it. So thatís the big idea. How we speak about God.
So, the first Commandment, thereís one God. Second, we worship him alone. And then the third commandment, how we speak about God is part of how we worship God and interact with God. And hereís what he says in Exodus chapter twenty, verse seven:
"You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name" (Exodus 20:7).
#1 Abusing the NameÖ
Now I tend not to get into politics a lot, but you know it seems as if every time somebody runs for office, they start talking about God right? You know they say their piece and walk off the stage saying "God bless America." And I always wonder, do they really know him? Do they obey him? And since theyíre about to put their hand on the Bible, will they
actually honor its author and pay attention to it?
A good example, was in 2013 when President Obama gave an address to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States and he finished his speech by saying, quote, "Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you!" April 30, 2013 (LiveActionNews.org).
Really??? God bless Planned Parenthood so they can take the life of more children that he has created in his own image. That is a violation of the third commandment. Thatís misusing the name of the Lord. Thatís not serving the name of the Lord; thatís using the name of the Lord. Thatís not honoring the name of the Lord; thatís dishonoring the name of
And in this third commandment God warns about misusing his name saying, "for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." So what Godís saying is, "Thereís going to be some consequences." Like the guy who misuses the name of the Lord in Leviticus chapter 24, verse 11, it actually says, he "blasphemed the Name with a curse". So God
says to the IsraelitesÖ and this is strong languageÖ he says, "If anyone curses me, he will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death" (Leviticus 24:11-16).
Now could you imagine that today? That would really free up some internet traffic on Facebook, Twitter, and Messenger wouldnít it? I mean, God would really thin the herd with that one. You know itís like "OMG" and ZAP! So, do you think maybe this is serious? And maybe Godís trying to get our attention here?
And so first I want to share why we donít misuse the name of God.
And the first reason is that we donít name God. God tells us his name. And I know, today there are a lot of people and conversations about God and theyíre like, "Who do you think God is? Whatís your spirituality, your religion, your philosophy, and your ideology?" Recently there was even the leader of a very large religious denomination that said
something like, "Everybodyís talking about the same God we just use different names."
No, we donít!!! The Bible says, "Anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death" (Leviticus 24:16). Thereís one God, he tells us his name, and we have no right to create a name for God because thatís an act of authority. Weíre not his parents. Heís in authority. He reveals his name to us. He says his name is Yahweh, which translated is
the Lord, and as a matter of fact, His name, appears over five thousand times in the Old Testament. His name was such a holy name that the Jews wouldnít even write the name of God for fear of misusing it and enduring the consequences of violating the third commandment.
Another reason we donít misuse the name of God is because He owns his name. He copyrights it. And He allows us to use it under certain conditions, but heís patented it, heís trademarked it, and even branded it, because he owns it. Itís his name and how its used is to be according to his requirements. So when God says, "You shall not misuse the name of
the Lord your God." What does that mean? It means its super important that we donít use it in a way that is empty or devoid of truthÖ in a way that is unholy or inconsequential, because itís disrespectful and itís dishonorable.
#2 Honoring the NameÖ
So what does this mean for you and me. What are the implications of the third commandment? If itís so serious that God commanded in the Old Testament that you would die, if he takes the over 600 laws recorded in the first five books of the Old Testament, and breaks them down to Ten Commandments, and he places this one, number three in order, I would
suggest that itís a pretty big deal. If he warns us that if we disobey it there will be consequences, I believe we should prayerfully and carefully look at our lives and our words and ask, "In what ways am I violating the third commandment?"
So, it really comes down to this: God gives us his name and he says donít misuse it, but the flip side of that is what Jesus teaches us in Matthew 6:9, you know, where he teaches us how to pray. Do you remember the line? "Our Father in heaven hallowed be your name." Hallowed means holy, respected, revered, honored be your name. The opposite of
hallowing Godís name is misusing Godís name. So, Jesus teaches us to obey the third commandment by honoring and hallowing the name of God.
So, we want to use Godís name in a way that honors God. And therefore, it is really important for us to know who is this one God? Who I this God that commands us to worship him with total allegiance? And commands that he be worshiped by how we speak of him and to him?
So weíre in Exodus chapter 20. Letís go back to Exodus chapter 3. Weíre still hanging with this guy named Moses and he has this amazing supernatural encounter. Do you remember the story? God meets with Moses in the wilderness. Moses sees a bush thatís on fire, but not being burnt up so he walks up to the bush to check it out, and the bush talks to him.
Well, it says, "God called to him from within the bush" (Exodus 3:4). And so God tells Moses "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. Iíve heard them crying outÖ and Iím concerned about their suffering. So Iíve come down to rescue them"
"So now go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt" (Exodus 3:10).
Now Moses has a questionÖ heís trying to be respectful... but itís actually kind of funny, cause he asks, "Well, who should I say has sent me?" And you can kind of read between the lines. Itís like, "What am I going to say, "The bush is very unhappy?"
So in Exodus chapter 3, at verse 14, God gives Moses his name: "I Am Who I Am (which translated is Yahweh). And he said, "You are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you." So, Godís name is what? "I Am." So, Moses goes in, says everything, God judges, everything happens, and the Israelites are set free.
Many centuries later, Jesus Christ is walking on the earth. People are wondering and they ask him, "Who do you think you are?" (John 8:53). "Who are you, Jesus?" Hereís what he says: "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad" (John 8:56).
So hereís Jesus, in his early thirties, and he says, "Iím older than Abraham." Now this is interesting because Abrahamís been dead for like two thousand years. So this is a strange thing to say. You know, theyíre like, "Jesus, thatís a lot of candles on your birthday cake. Because, many years ago, there was Moses who gave us the Ten Commandments, and
way before that there was Abraham, and youíre saying youíre older than Abraham? That youíre way back at the beginning of the story?"
And then he blows their minds saying, "Before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58). Now do you remember what God told Moses in Exodus chapter 3? What did God tell Moses? "Tell them, ĎI Amí has sent you." Now Jesus comes along and says, "Iím older than Abraham. My name is I Am. Maybe youíve heard of me."
And thatís right, Jesus claimed to be God, he is the God who spoke to Moses, the God who was before Abraham, the God who created the heavens and the earth. And they know that heís claiming to be God, so "they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds" (John 8:59). They picked up stones to stone him for
blasphemyÖ for claiming to be God.
So donít let anybody tell you, that Jesus isnít God, didnít think he was God, or didnít say he was God. Donít let the Mormons, Jehovahís Witnesses, Muslims, or any other religion, philosophy, or ideology try to steal the power and glory of Jesus Christ. The whole reason that they kept trying to kill him and they eventually did is because he kept saying
that he was God. Funny things was that three days later, he rose and said, "I told you so." Jesus is God and God isnít dead; heís alive. Jesus didnít violate the first commandment: because he is the only God. Jesus didnít violate the second commandment: because he lived without sin. Jesus didnít violate the third commandment: because he didnít lie. Instead he says, "I tell
you the truth!" (John 8:58).
#3. Worshiping the NameÖ
So, what should we do? The answer to the third commandment is to honor the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We sit in this privileged place of human history where we know who the Lord is. Itís Jesus Christ. And I want you to hear about who Jesus is and how weíre to respond to him from the apostle Paul in Philippians 2:5Ė11.
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death óeven death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
You see Jesus didnít stay up in heaven and say, "I deserve glory, not humility. I deserve wealth, not poverty. I deserve to hear the angels sing, ĎHoly, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.í I donít deserve to go down there and hear, ĎCrucify him, crucify him, crucify him.í" But Jesus let go of his rights. He emptied himself, making himself as nothing,
taking upon himself all our pain and sorrow. When we lift up the name of Jesus, weíre honoring a humble God, weíre honoring a loving God, weíre honoring a serving God, and weíre loving and serving a forgiving God.
And hereís whatís so amazing: when we misuse the name of the LordÖ and we all haveÖ we deserve punishment. Thatís what the third commandment says, but Jesus comes, the Lord, the very one that weíve dishonored. He goes to the cross, where he substitutes himself, and he suffers and dies in our place for our sins, so that for people like you and me.
People who have violated the first commandment with our false gods, violated the second commandment by worshiping things other than God, violated the third commandment by misusing the Lordís name with our words and our actionsÖ he goes to the cross, he humbles himself, and he who is without sin dies in our place for our sins and he says, "Father, forgive them" (Luke 23:34).
Thatís our Jesus.
Thatís why we like to talk about him and sing about him, because thereís no god like our God. Thereís no god alongside of him. Thereís no god thatís equal to him. Thereís no god that loves like him. Thereís no god thatís humble like him. Thereís no god that serves like him. Thereís no god who forgives like him. And so Jesus goes to the cross, Jesus
took our punishment, even though he was the one we sinned against and he had every right to punish us.
Our honorable response is to do what is described here in Philippians. To lift Jesus up, to magnify him, to exalt him, and to glorify him. So, as we hear of this great God-man JesusÖ as we understand who Jesus isÖ as we behold the name that is above all names, the glory, and the goodness of Jesus is revealed in us. Amen!
Jesus is in heaven right now, heís ruling and reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords. Heís no longer in humility; heís in glory. His name, Jesusí name is "the name that is above every name." And for those who believe he has given his SpiritÖ if the Holy Spirit is in you, that just feels so right. It feels good. It makes sense because itís all
I would invite you today to be one of those people who bends your knee to Jesus and receives him as Lord, God, and Savior.
As we close, weíre going to respond, and the way we overcome the third commandment is by singing about Jesus, talking about Jesus, and praying to Jesus, amen? We celebrate Jesus. We celebrate the humble servant who died for his enemies to make them his people. Thatís good news, right? So weíre going to sing the name of Jesus. Weíre going to get
passionate because of the name, the fame, the reputation, and the good news of the glory of Jesus Christ, as we sing together. When we come together, weíre Jesusí people and we want to lift up Jesusí name, amen?
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