4.4.31 6.26.2022 Honoring God's Holy Name

Exodus 20:7 ESV
7 “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.
Entice: Simple texts, can be complicated to preach. It is tempting to overgeneralize and moralize without really teaching the text or encouraging acceptance. Yet when interpreted in context and applied both theologically and practically, even seemingly simple and self-evident texts communicate more than we first credit them.
For most of us the third commandment is about aggregating and avoiding certain cuss words.
That was

not God's primary concern.

It's still not.

Not that I am saying you should not control your tongue. There are other texts which go into greater detail regarding that. The specific wording of this commandment; in both Exodus and Deuteronomy hints at its purpose. It's not merely about our speech. Speech articulates our mind. Speech mirrors honor, holiness, and respect. Before the 10 commandments can regulate any behavior, we must first accept it as a revelation of God.
Engage: Furthermore, if we scorn the holiness of God and do not esteem Him in our speech, there is a pretty good chance we will direct our ill-will and dishonoring words to others. Let's pause and remember what James said about speech.
James 3:8–10 ESV
8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
Expand: Holiness is about space and preparation. Separation allows time for preparation. Not only physically but also mentally, spiritually, and yes, communicatively.

Words matter.

Names matter.

How we speak and how we address one another is a window into our relationships. Show me a man who berates and never praises his wife. A man who talks down to his employees or badly about his boss. Show me a teacher who humiliates his students or a pupil who hisses at his instructors and I will show you a home, an office, and a classroom in crisis. This is true of our relationship with God.
Excite: This is the sort of text I struggle preaching. It combines the obvious and the profound in such a way that I want to read it. Clear my throat, read it again. Say "hmmm". Read it again. Raise an eyebrow, take questions, and move on. What could someone not understand about this text? That's why I study and think through the text every week even when it's familiar.

Understanding God's holiness begins with respecting and revering His name.

Explain: God sets the terms for discussions of relational holiness.
Deuteronomy 5:11 ESV
11 “ ‘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.
Body of Sermon: So,

1. God's name defines the narrative.

(The name of God...) Think about three stories we tell about God when we call upon His name.

1.1 Control.

1.2 Casual

1.3 Causal

By using it vainly, vacuously, viciously we stubbornly insist on controlling the narrative about God. That is misusing His name
Next consider that

2. God's name demonstrates nurture.

2.1 God's name is Covenantal.


2.2 God's name is Personal

(Your God)

3. God's name discloses His nature.

3.1 Purpose

3.2 Fulness.

3.3 Cause.

God's nature is directly the opposite of vanity, emptiness, or causeless.
Shut Down:
Final, practical considerations. Do not use God's name as a charm or cheat. Do not use God's name in a vow that you do not take seriously or intend to keep, do not impurely or improperly call upon God's name in worship. He takes His holiness seriously and we should as well. If we do not hold Him as holy, how can we expect Him, in Christ Jesus to spread the veil of His own holiness over us?
As Christians we serve Jesus...Whose name of course means "YHWH saves". It is right for us to apply this command in our allegiance to Him.
He Himself tells us to pray, "asking in His name". Far too often we twist those words to our own benefit. In his Gospel John records Jesus 7 times discussing the use of His name with His disciples. I only provide one example
John 14:13–14 ESV
13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
The principle is the same. Our responsible invocation of the name of Jesus is dependent on understanding the Kingdom principles of His will.
In that asking, it is our rightful duty to make sure that we do not use the name as a charm or rashly ask for that which is outside of His will. It is assumed that all such invocation is done as an act of personal or corporate worship.
We know the name of God. In that name we come to understand His nature and purpose for us. What a joy to only lift His name reverently and appropriately.
Yes, our speech should be civilized. That is a different matter. Holiness is critical. TIGWFUT.
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