Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday evening, April 20, 2003, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia.
THE DESECRATION OF GOD’S NAME: THE THIRD COMMANDMENT
By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia
Scripture Reading: Exodus 20:1-7
Text: Exodus 20:7
Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Introduction: As we come to the third of the ten commandments, one thing I want to point out to you that the first three of them are all NEGATIVE. In a day when there is such an emphasis on being POSITIVE in preaching, POSITIVE in thinking, and POSITIVE in witnessing, it might do us well to remember that the only commandment given to the couple in the garden of Eden was NEGATIVE. God said to NOT do something, and they did it anyway!
This is the third of four commandments that deal with man’s relationship to God. The last six deal with man’s relationship to man. The first commandment was to put God first in your life. I called it THE DEMAND OF GOD’S WORSHIP. The second commandment was to not make graven images for worship. I called it THE DEVOTION TO GRAVEN IMAGES.
The third commandment is about taking God’s name in vain.
I want us to consider four thoughts tonight about this third commandment and how it is to be obeyed:
I. NEVER TAKE THE LORD’S NAME IN VAIN IN CURSING
2 Kings 2:24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
Obviously, Elisha didn’t curse those children in vain!
Some people curse, using God’s name in vain:
A. In anger
B. In amazement
C. In agony and pain
II. NEVER TAKE THE LORD’S NAME IN VAIN IN CONVERSATION
Matthew 5:34-37 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
Be careful about doing this in:
A. Expressing happiness
- Sometimes “Praise the Lord” is certainly legitimate … when you are genuinely praising the Lord!
B. Emphasizing truthfulness
C. Exploding in shock
III. NEVER TAKE THE LORD’S NAME IN VAIN IN CALLING UPON GOD
A. In performing miracles
- Acts 19:13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
B. In praying
- Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
- God’s name is not to be used over and over in prayer, sort of as a word to say while you think of your next petition!
C. In provoking God
- It is said that the famous agnostic Robert Ingersoll used to speak in public forums and blaspheme the name of God, daring God to strike him dead.
IV. NEVER TAKE THE LORD’S NAME IN VAIN IN CONFESSING CHRIST
1 Corinthians 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
A. If you have no conversion experience
B. If you have no change of life
- 1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
- 2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.