Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ten Commandments: What's in a Name?

Chuckle: A preacher looking over his predecessor's sermons found midway down a page a sentence in brackets which read: "Yell like blazes -- argument poor!"
Quote: "Guard your roving thoughts with a jealous care, for speech is but the dialer of thoughts, and every fool can plainly read in your words what is the hour of your thoughts." --Alfred Lord Tennyson

"Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name" (Exodus 20:7 NLT). "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" (KJV).
In biblical thought, a name was a means to capsulate the very essence of a person into one meaningful term. Because of their importance, names were never given without purpose, and sometimes changed to represent a change in character -- Abram to Abraham; Jacob to Israel, etc. Even Jesus was given names with profound meaning. "Jesus" from Hebrew "Joshua" means "Jehovah is Salvation." "Christ" is from the Greek "Christos," and Hebrew equivalent "Messiah" which means "Anointed One." He was also called "Immanuel," which means "God with us."
Using His name in vain is a big deal to God. Taking God's name in vain is more than just using profanity in our speech. It indicates a flawed lifestyle; and, sadly, when we deny God's holiness by profaning His name, we may cause others to lose respect for His name as well. To profane His name, or misuse His name, is to ignore his holy nature represented by His name. When I allow bitter and profane words to escape my lips, it's a sign of a sinful heart. I've never met a person who puts God first in his/her life who uses God's name in vain in the course of conversation -- have you?
Other ways we can violate this commandment include: (1) Using the name "Christian" without obeying God's commands. "They claim to know God, but by their actions, they deny Him" (Titus 1:16 NIV); (2) Praying in Jesus name for things desired by a selfish heart rather than for what Jesus wants for me. "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures" (James 4:3 NIV); (3) Giving lip-service to worship -- not from the heart -- "These people worship me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain" (Matthew 15:8-9a NIV); or (4) A lack of reverence for God's name -- the "Name at which every knee shall bow and every tongue confess . . ." (Philippians 2:10 NIV).
The way we use God's name reveals how we really feel about him. If you find yourself profaning or otherwise misusing and dishonoring God's name, there are some ways to deal with the issue. First, recognize your sin and confess it before God. Second, accept God's forgiveness. Third, be conscious of God's presence with you at all times. There is no "off-the-record" way of dishonoring God's name. Don't forget, God gave us this commandment because he loves us. If you have used His name in vain,  you can pray asking God’s forgiveness and cleansing of your heart, mind, and lips.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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