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Exodus 20:7 GODS LAST NAME IS NOT DAMN
Intro: In the Taurus mountains of southern Turkey, lives a
certain variety of crane. These birds tend to cackle a lot, especially while
flying. And, all that noise gets the attention of eagles, who swoop down and
seize them for a meal. The experienced cranes avoid this threat by picking up
stones large enough to fill their mouths. This prevents them from cackling--and
from becoming lunch for the eagles. People have a problem with their mouths
too. It seemed to me that this was an appropriate illustration to begin our
study on the 3rd Commandment.
You see, on the front of every face in this room is a large
opening called a mouth. In each mouth is a little organ called a tongue. The
tongue, though relatively small when compared to the whole body, is one of the
most powerful forces in the universe. It must be! After all, man can split atoms,
walk on the moon, construct enough weapons to destroy his world thousands of
times over, yet he cannot seem to control his little tongue, James 3:8. In James
3, the Bible gives us valuable insight into this little monster that lives in
our mouths, James 3:1-12. Paul tells us that as Christians, we are to use our
tongues for noble pursuits, Eph. 4:29. He also tells us in Col. 3:8, that we
are to watch our filthy mouths. I dont know how you feel about it, but
to me, few things are as disgusting, as repulsive and as repugnant as a mouth
spewing forth profanity and verbal stupidity. If you are guilty of using filthy
language, then shame on you! But, I am sure you have good reasons for your foul
Ill. A man named Alex Dunlap has written and published a tract
entitled Ten Reasons Why I Swear. The purpose of the tract was to show
how foolish swearing was. Here are the reasons he gives:
1. It pleases my mother so much.
2. It is a fine mark of manliness.
3. It proves I have self-control.
4. It indicates how clearly my mind operates.
5. It makes my conversation so pleasing to everyone.
6. It leaves no doubt in anyones mind as to my good
7. It impresses people that I have more than an ordinary
8. It is an unmistakable sign of culture and refinement.
9. It makes me a very desirable personality among women and
children of culture and refinement.
10. It is my way of honoring God, who said, "Thou shalt
not take the name of the Lord in vain."
Tonight, we have come to the 3rd Commandment. It
deals with something far more serious than just a filthy mouth. This Commandment
discusses the misuse, or profane use of Gods Holy Name. Gods Name
is a Holy Name! It isnt to be used unless it is used in connection with
His praise or His proclaimation. Sadly, to many it seems, Gods name is
no more than a curse word. A by-word they can throw around at will.
Ill. Little Mary, attending Sunday School for the first time
one Christmas season, eagerly listened as her teacher told of the birth of Gods
Son. She thrilled to the story of the angels, wise men, the star, and the gifts.
Then the teacher added, "And they shall call His name Jesus." She
looked over at the person beside her and asked, "Why did they have to name
such a sweet baby a swear word?" It was the first time that she had ever
heard His Name used outside of a curse! (Ill. You know, kids just repeat what
they hear! Ill. "The boy's mother was furious. `Young man, where did you
learn to talk that way?'
"The boy hesitated, looked toward his father, and asked,
`Well, Dad, should I tell her?'")
Ill. We are literally surrounded by profanity. These statistics
concerning television ought to cause us some alarm. Did you know: In one year's
time prime-time television airs 8,333 acts of violence, 14,313 incidents of
sex, and 23,566 uses of profanity.
--Wesleyan Advocate, Jun 1995
Profanity on television increased by
an alarming 45% in the first four years of the 1990s, according to a Southern Illinois
University study. Researchers monitored two weeks of prime-time programming on NBC, ABC,
CBS, and Fox, and found that words that were once banned are now heard about once every
five minutes on prime-time sitcoms.
--USA Today, Mar 2, 1995
This evening, I want us to look into the 3rd. Commandment
and learn more about his grave matter of taking the Lords Name in vain. With
Gods help, I will preach on this subject, "Gods Last Name Is Not
I. GODS NAME IS A VENERABLE NAME
(Venerable = Sacred, Holy, Worthy of Respect and Revenence)(Gods Name is often
misused and mispoken because it is misunderstood and not appreciated as it should be.
Right now, I want to help us fully understand and appreciate this Sacred Name.)
A. The Announcement Of Gods Holy Name (Ill. The importance
of names in the Bible as opposed to now.) Names in the Bible usually revealed something
about the person, his ancestry or his background. This is especially true in regard to the
Name of God. In truth, God has chosen to reveal Himself to man through His Names. (Ill.
There are over 300 given in the Bible.) 2 are used here and it is these 2 that we will
concentrate on tonight.
1. LORD When you see this word in the bible, it is the English
rendering of the Hebrew word "Jehovah." It describes God as the self-existent,
eternal One. It is the Name, "I AM." This is the name God used when He revealed
Himself to Moses, Ex. 3:14. This Name is used to declare Gods nature, that is
unchanging and eternal Mal. 3:6; James 1:17. In the Bible, Jehovah is coupled with
other words to form compound names for God which reveal more about His nature and His
attributes. Some Are:
a. Jehovah-Jireh "The LORD will provide" Gen. 22:14.
b. Jehovah-Nissi "The LORD is my banner." Ex. 17:15.
c. Jehovah-Shalom "The LORD is peace" Judges 6:24.
d. Jehovah-Shammah "The LORD is there" Eze. 48:35.
e. Jehovah-Tsebaoth "The LORD of Hosts" 1 Sam. 1:3
f. Jehovah-Rohi "The LORD is my Shepherd" Psa. 23:1.
2. God Elohim Refers to the One Supreme, faithful, triune
God. Literally, "The Strong and Faithful One!" This is the common word for God
in the bible. It is used over 2,000 times in the Old Testament. In fact, when God stepped
out of eternity to reveal Himself to man, this is the Name He chose. A Name depicting
Himself as the Strong and Faithful One. The God who can be depended on!
3. There are many Names given to God in the Old Testament. Some are:
a. El God
b. El-Shadday God Almighty
c. Adonai Lord
B. The Adoration Of Gods Name Ill. Gods Name is to be
held in extreme reverence and adoration. (Ill. Only occurrence of "reverend" in
the Bible Psa. 111:9. This is why I personally reject the title of Rev. Alan Carr.)
(Ill. The esteem the Jews held for His Name. The scribes would, when they came to the Name
of God in the writing, stop writing, thoroughly wash themselves, change pens, then write
the Name of God. Afterwards, they would throw the pen away so that it could never be used
to write another word.) (Many orthodox Jews today will not even say the Name Jehovah or
Yahweh. Instead, they say the word for Lord, Adonai.) I am afraid that we have lost much
of that holy respect for Gods glorious Name. When we use Gods Name, it is to
be in a manner consistent with His character. We are to hold His Name in reverence, awe,
respect and worship. (Ill. Psa. 66:2; Psa. 34:3; Psa. 29:2; Matt. 6:9)
II. GODS NAME IS A VIOLATED NAME
This verse tells us that it is wrong to use Gods Name in vain. This
word means, "empty, idle, insincerely, phony, frivolous, lacking in reality
and truth." When we treat the Name of God as another by-word, it is nothing
short of blasphemy! Sadly, we hear His Name degraded far more often that we
hear it being exalted! There are 2 primary ways in which we violate the Blessed
Name of God.
A. When We Use It As A Curse How many times have we heard, or
said, "Oh God!"; "Oh my God!"; "Jesus!"; Oh Jesus!";
"Oh Christ!"; "Jesus Christ!"; "God Almighty!"; or any of a
thousand others just like those? Even Christians are guilty of saying things like,
"Oh Lord!"; "My God!"; "Good God!" Weve all done, but
it is degrading to the Lords Name to throw it around so casually. Often, we are
guilty of using slang expressions that we feel to be harmless, but which are actually
derivatives from some form of Gods Name. Some are: "Gosh, golly, gee, gee whiz,
cripes, criminy, jeeze." Others are just a play on the mother of all curse words,
"God Damn It." They are: "Dog gone it; Gosh darn it; dang nb it; dad blame
it, etc." Often, men will attribute things to God which He had no part in by saying,
"By God!" Others will seek to invoke His Name by saying "God
Almighty!" No matter how you say it or how you slice it up, when we use the
Lords Name in a vain way, we are guilty of violating the Holiest of all Names! (Ill.
I havent even dealt with the little slang words we use when angry! You know what you
Ill. Dr. L. Nelson Bell warns that a person who freely uses "hell, "
"damn," and "devil" in his conversation may well be reminding himself
of his destination, his condition, and his master.
B. When We Use It Casually What I mean by that is this, Sunday after
Sunday, Christians utter the Name of God in songs and in prayers and in testimonies, but
often there is no sincerity and no genuine reverence for that Name. In other words, it
just isnt from the heart. It makes us sound spiritual, so we use it. But, when we
invoke the wonderful Name of God, we are to do so with meaning and significance. Whenever
that Name is used, it must be used reverently, respectfully and from a heart of adoration
and worship. Otherwise, it is being used improperly and in vain. Beware, therefore, of the
casual usage of Gods Holy name.
C. When We Use It As Camouflage The most subtle way Christians take the
Lords Name in vain in through hypocrisy. When we vow to God to do one thing and in
turn do another, then we are guilty before Him. If His Name reveals His character, and we
are going in His Name, then our hypocrisy sends a false image of God and therefore
violates His Name. (Ill. "The hypocrisy of the church is far worse than the profanity
of the street." Greg Laurie.) Ill. Luke 6:46. Do not be guilty of hiding
behind the Name of God as a camouflage for evil!
III. GODS NAME WILL BE VINDICATED
A. There Will Be Punishment For The Violator (Guiltless
clean, pure, free, innocent.) God will deal with those who willfully violate the
sacredness of His Name. (Ill. Imagine having to stand before God and defend your profane
use of His Name!) The person who uses Gods Name in vain can never be fully right
with God and in position for His blessing until that sin is repented of.
B. A Path For The Christian (Ill. After the Welsh revival of 1904,
foul mouthed miners who had been saved returned to the mines and were faced with the task
of retraining their mules. It seems that the animals were unable to understand the
commands of the miners when there was no profanity used.) (Ill. One day a farmer arrived
home much later than his wife expected him, so she asked him what had taken so long. His
reply was this, "Well, I picked up the preacher down the road, and after that moment,
those horses couldnt understand a thing I said to them.")
Gods plan for His people is that we guard our tongues and that when we use His
Name, we do so with reverence and respect. Christians have need to swear, or to attach an
oath to their speech. Gods plan is this: Matt. 5:37; James 5:12. (Ill. Some might be
asking, "What can I say then?" The less said, the better off you will be when
you stand before the Lord! Matt. 12:36.
Conc: Ill. A Missionary to the Orient witnessed a 20 year old
native approach a heathen idol. He bowed before it and quickly pulled out a
knife and cut out his own tongue, placing it before the idol. Within minutes,
the young man had collapsed in a pool of his own blood at the idols feet. God
doesnt want you tongue cut from your head, but He does want it consecrated
and dedicated wholly to His worship, His adoration and His glorification. How
are you using your tongue? Remember, Gods last Name is not Damn!