This past Sunday our message was, “What’s In a Name?” It involved the healing of a lame man in Acts 3 at The Beautiful Gate of the Temple. Peter and John made it clear that the healing was done “in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” One of the things I asked people to consider was to make sure we are showing proper respect to the name of the Lord. We can dishonor the Lord’s name in the way we speak. We also need to remember that we can dishonor the Lord’s name by the way we behave, since as Christians we bear his name. If I look sloppy – clothes dirty, wrinkled, etc., Diane will say to me, “That’s a reflection on me.” I know she means that, so I try to keep my appearance such that it does not reflect poorly on her. We should all be eager to take measures so that our actions and deeds do not dishonor the Lord’s great name.
Greg Laurie had an excellent devotional that reinforces this message regarding misusing the Lord’s name. We share that with you now:
A Misunderstood Commandment
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” —Exodus 20:7
I think one of the most misunderstood of the Ten Commandments is this one: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7 NKJV).
It’s probably one of the most easily broken commandments because it’s so misunderstood. The term “in vain” means to use in a frivolous or insincere manner. One of the obvious ways to do this is by using profanity. And by the way, “damn” is not God’s last name.
The Bible tells us, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9 NKJV). When a person uses the name of Jesus in vain, I think in a way they’re acknowledging there’s power in His name.
For instance, some people who claim to be atheists will use God’s name frivolously and even use the name of Jesus Christ. Curiously, if you’re an atheist and don’t believe in God, then why would you use the name of Jesus Christ to make a statement?
If I hear someone use the name of Jesus to punctuate a point, I’ll react to it. More than any other profanity, this offends me, and I know it offends God. So, I’ll say something along the lines of, “Careful, He might answer you sometime” or “You know Him too? He’s my best friend.”
We also take His name in vain when we text “OMG” or say the equivalent of it with no thought of the Lord whatsoever.
But perhaps the easiest way to take His name in vain is by being a hypocrite. Jesus said, “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?” (Luke 6:46 NLT).
The hypocrisy of the church is far worse than the profanity on the street. Let’s not take His name in vain.