[Exodus 20: 7]
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the third session on the Ten Commandments, and I will talk to you about the 3rd commandment.
Today’s reading passage Exodus 20:7 says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.”
‘The Lord will not leave him unpunished’ means God will hold that person guilty and condemn him.
In Romans 6:23, we read that ‘the wages of sin is death’, so if one is condemned to be guilty by God, he will certainly receive the punishment of death, which means he will not be saved.
But even though God gave us such stern and strict warning, some people do not even remember that there is such a command among the Ten Commandments. Even among those who say they believe, there are people who do not respect God’s name but take His name in vain.
If you truly fear God and try to follow the truth from the bottom of your heart, you won’t do that even by a mistake.
I urge you in the name of the Lord that, through today’s message, you will check yourself once again and be alert, so that you won’t be impolite or rude before God but only (have reverent) fear (of) God all the time.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the dictionary tells us to take someone’s name in vain is to refer to them in a disrespectful way, especially in anger or surprise.
To take God’s name in vain is to not use the name of the holy God correctly but misusing it in an ungodly manner.
For example, it can be things like telling your ideas as if they were God’s, saying your behavior is controlled by God although it is actually your own behavior, and making false vows or joking with the name of God.
Also, if those who don’t usually even seek God complain against God saying, “He is not generous,” or “How can this happen if God is alive?” when something bad happens to them, it is also taking God’s name in vain.
If you, as a creature, take the name of God the Creator in vain, who is worthy to be praised and honored, how can God say you are sinless? The reason why God says it is sinful to take His name in vain is because it is the proof that the person has no faith in God.
Among philosophers who try to study about life and the meaning of everything, some said God is dead, and also among ordinary people, some recklessly say God does not exist. One Russian astronaut said, “I went into outer space, but there was no God.”
Being an astronaut, he must have been aware how such a small portion of the whole universe he saw and explored.
But after seeing such a small space in the universe, if he says God who created everything in the universe does not exist only because he didn’t see with his eyes, how foolish this is!
Psalm 53:1 says, “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God,” They are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; There is no one who does good.”
Those who look at everything in the universe can find the evidences of the living God in nature.
Also, there are so many preachers who testify the living God and the Lord Jesus Christ to them.
If they harden their heart and do not believe in God, yet take God’s name in vain, how can God say they are sinless?
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the second reason why God says it is sinful to take God’s name in vain is because it is to mock God.
To mock is to speak or behave disparagingly, derisively, or contemptuously towards someone or something.
Who can be considered sinless for daring to mock God the Creator? Psalm 96:4 says, “For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.”
1 Timothy 6:16 says, “who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”
Exodus 33:20 says, “But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” God is so great that we creatures cannot even see Him and live. So, in Korea, those who had good conscience used honorific expressions about the heavenly things.
For example, about the rain coming down, they used an honorific expression. Although they didn’t know God, they vaguely thought that the Creator was there to give them rain from heaven. That’s why they used honorific even about the rain coming down.
Even to creatures, in Korea, if we truly respect our parents or some other person, we don’t even call their (given) names carelessly. If we have to call them, we definitely put some honorific titles with our respectful heart.
Then, how much more respect should we have for God when we mention Him who is the Creator of everything and ruler of life? So, when the people of Israel read the Bible, they don’t even say the name of God with their lips.
When the Bible mentions the name of the ‘LORD God’, they just say, ‘Adonai’, which means ‘My Lord’, not to directly mention the name of God.
For example, if it says, “Jehovah is great,” they just read it, “My Lord is great.” Of course, I am not saying we have to do this, too, but we have to have humble heart when we mention the name of God.
But today, even among believers, there are some people who don’t respect God but take His name in vain.
For example, they quote from the Bible or use the name of God to make flippant and disrespectful jokes.
Because the Word is God, if you do not respect the words of the Bible, it is same as to take God’s name in vain.
Later in this message I will tell you the third point again, but also telling a lie in God’s name is taking His name in vain.
For example, it is a case when you have an idea and you say you heard the voice of God or the Holy Spirit moved your heart. Let me give you an example to make it easier to understand.
If you are telling somebody about something saying that it is what senior pastor has spoken and what you say is void of truth, can we say you are respecting me?
Or to make somebody do what you want him to do you say it is an order direct from the senior pastor, how embarrassing would it be when I find it out?
We shouldn’t say things that have no truth in it even when it is something someone else supposedly said. If you mention God’s name and speak untruthful things, it is something very rude before God.
The almighty and all-knowing God knows all men’s hearts and thoughts, and all words and deeds of good and evil, as if He is looking into His palm.
He looks at the lives of people with His blazing eyes, and judges everyone according to his deeds. If you truly believe in this God, you can never commit the sin of mocking God by taking His name in vain.
I urge you to fear God to the utmost degree, watch your words in your conversations, and be very careful not to commit the sin of mocking God.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, there is one more thing you should remember here.
Those who really fear God will be very careful and on alert not only when they mention the name of God but in everything related to God.
For example, as mentioned earlier, when you read or quote from the Bible, which is the word of God, you will read it and quote with reverence.
Also, when you do something in the sanctuary or handle holy things in the sanctuary, you should handle them more carefully than when you handle your own things. When you handle God’s money, you must spend it precisely with so much care, even if it is little amount.
If you mistakingly break a cup that was provided by the church, or if you break the mirror or a glass window pane in the church, can you just ignore it?
You should never do it, because even small things are set apart as God’s possessions.
I have never spent the church money as I so desired, and I have never used even a piece of paper, a pen, the telephone, or an offering envelop for personal use.
It’s because I can never use God’s possession at my will.
Also, when you speak about somebody whom God guarantees with His power, or when you talk about the works of the Holy Spirit, please remember that all those things are directly related with God.
Therefore, about the things that God controls and when He intervenes or intercedes, you should be very careful not to judge or speak rudely with your fleshly thoughts.
Saul did many evil things and was forsaken by God, but because he had once been anointed by God, David didn’t kill him, even though he had tried to kill David so many times.
Likewise, if you fear and respect God, you will have a godly mind toward anything that belongs to God.
I urge you to have humble heart about not only the name of God but also everything related with Him, so that you will not mock God by any chance.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the third reason why it is sinful to take God’s name in vain is because it is to tell a lie in God’s name.
In the history of Israel in the Old Testament, we sometimes see false prophets.
They proclaimed as God’s word what God had not spoken to them and deceived people saying it was the prophecy from God.
In Deuteronomy 18:20, God warns these people strictly.
He said, “But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.”
If you dare tell a lie under the feigned name of God, the punishment will be death. Revelation 21:8 also says, “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
The liars here refer to those who lie in God’s name.
If you lie in God’s name like this and are condemned to be guilty, it means you are bringing yourself punishment. Moreover, not only false prophets, but if you vow in God’s name and not keep it, it is also to lie in God’s name and thus taking God’s name in vain.
Leviticus 19:12 says, “You shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the Lord.” But today, even among believers, there are some who lie by God’s name.
For example, even though it is not God’s work at all, some say, “I heard this voice of the Holy Spirit in my prayer,” or “God moved my heart this way.”
Or, seeing something being done, they just say, “God has accomplished this.”
If it’s really God’s work, it is OK, but the problem is some people habitually say such things although they are not really the voice or guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Of course, a child of God should be able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and be guided by God in all things.
But not all children of God will hear the Holy Spirit’s voice unconditionally.
You can hear it more clearly to the extent that you cast off sins and fill your heart with the truth. Those who do not live in the truth but befriend the world cannot hear the Holy Spirit’s voice.
But their heart being full of untruths, in an attempt to show themselves off, they say what came from their thoughts are works of the Holy Spirit. Then, it is not only to tell a lie before people but before God as well.
Also, even though your heart hears the Holy Spirit’s voice to some extent, until it becomes 100%, you go through a training process to discern between voices. Therefore, when you cannot clearly discern, you should not conclusively say something is the work of the Holy Spirit.
It’s not only about the Holy Spirit’s voice. The same goes with other spiritual experiences including dreams or visions. For example, some dreams are given by God, but some others come from one’s own thoughts, and still others are given by Satan.
So, if you just say your dream was given by God while it was not actually given by God, it is not right before God, either.
Also, when somebody else speaks in the name of the Holy Spirit, you should be careful as a listener.
When somebody came to me and said to me that the Holy Spirit spoke to him/her, I never ignored or objected to what that person said, even a word of a little child. I was being very careful that I would not speak against the Holy Spirit in case it was really the Holy Spirit who had spoken to that person.
Of course, since I can hear the Holy Spirit’s voice very clearly, I can correctly discern whether somebody’s word is true or false.
And yet, I don’t jump to conclusion whether that word is the voice of the Holy Spirit or not, until I pray about it and receive the answer. Therefore, when we speak something by God’s name, both the speaker and the listener should be very careful about it.
There is also another case. Some people face disasters because of their own sins, but they say, “God has stricken me.”
Also, when things go as they want, some people say “I prayed and God blessed me.” But when the same thing doesn’t go very well after some time, they say, “God stopped me.” They change their words like this, and they habitually misuse the name of God.
Doing this, some think it is the confession of faith, but true confession of faith coming out from the depth of heart and trying to use the name of God with boasting and careless heart are completely different.
Proverbs 3:6 says, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” But it doesn’t mean that you should mention God’s name for everything without caution.
Rather, if you acknowledge God in all things, you will be more careful to mention God’s name on your lips, and you will try to act in truth.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, God is so precise and delicate that when He selected a word for use in the Bible, He didn’t use it without giving much thought about it.
For example, even when He calls the believers, He uses different expressions according to the situation. Sometimes, He says, ‘Beloved children’, and at other times, He just says, ‘Brothers’.
If He had used ‘Beloved children’ in the place of ‘Brothers’, the meaning would have been different.
Also, God used expressions like ‘fathers’, ‘young men’, ‘little children’, and ‘children’, and in each of the title, God had precise meaning according to the measure of each one’s faith. It’s the same with the title of God the Trinity.
There are many names for God the Trinity in the Bible, such as God, Jehovah, God the Father, Messiah, Lord, Jesus, Jesus Christ, the Lamb, the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Holiness, and the Holy Spirit.
All these expressions were not just used without any meaning but each of them was used exactly according to the context and situation containing very precise meanings.
God is perfect like this, and He wants His children to be precise and correct in everything when they speak or do something in the Lord.
And we should be even more precise and accurate when we mention the name of the holy God on our lips.
Latter part of 1 Samuel 2:30 says, “… those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.”
If you honor God from your heart, you obviously won’t take His name in vain and you will do everything with reverence for God.
I hope all of you will fear the great God from the depth of your heart and check your heart being on alert and always praying, so that you will live a life to give glory to God only.
By doing so, may God honor you and guarantee all your words and deeds, consider you valuable and precious, and guide you to the most glorious place in the heavenly kingdom, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I pray!