Matthew 7 verse 22 is an interesting passage where Jesus Christ is telling the religious leaders one day, you will come to me and you will say, Lord, Lord, haven't we done all of these things? Haven't we cast out demons? Haven't we prophesied in your name? Haven't we performed miracles in your name? And Jesus Christ, the judge, will say, I never knew you.
Depart from me. That's an indication, men and women, that there are people today who use the name of Jesus Christ, who cloak their ministries in the name of God, who have no part of God. God's name is supposed to be magnified and exalted. We're supposed to treat it with reverence, respect and give it high honor in our worship.
But you and I both know that that's not always the case. Sometimes people misuse God's name and take his name in vain. We're going to look at this issue today.
This is Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. We're in one of our older vintage wisdom series called Down from Sinai. Stephen was teaching through the Ten Commandments. And today we come to a commandment that prohibits us from taking the Lord's name in vain.
This message is called Posting Guards Seasoning Words. God is already addressing the way that we talk. And rightly so. If you have been studying with us, you know that the first command had to do with the fact that God is preeminent. And if God is preeminent, then the second thing that would follow is that we worship him alone.
And those are the first two commandments. And if he is prominent, if he is preeminent in our lives and if he is the only God that we worship, then the third command makes perfect logical sense. And that is we will address him correctly. We will use the words that would honor him. If he is in fact preeminent and prominent, if he is the God I worship, then that will affect our speech.
That will affect the way that we talk. But why is this so high on his list? Why would his name be so important in scripture? And I think it's because whenever you address the name God or Jesus or Christ, whatever it may be, when you address that name, you bring the thought, even though it's for a split second, all of the character and all of the quality behind the name. It is what the name represents. You could go to other countries and find that Yesu is a very common name, Jesus.
However, in the context of the believer, in fact, the world will stand accountable to how they use that name because of all that's behind his name when we refer to him as Jesus or Christ or Lord. In Hebrew times, names were very important. As you well know, they would name their children usually after a quality or a characteristic that they would hope that their child would grow up to be like. They don't name them like so many do today where you look for that little jingle or something that goes well with your last name or initials that look good on luggage or something like that. You're looking for a name that has something in it that has deep resonance and a quality of character that would hopefully be something the child would live up to. In fact, I was reading the Puritans used to follow along the same thing, and they would name their children usually names.
You're probably familiar with that. They would name their daughters names like Charity, which is very common today, very beautiful name, Charity and Kindness and Hope and Faith. And I even read where one Puritan had named his daughter Silence.
I thought, man, did he have a rude awakening about 2 a.m. in the morning? She didn't live up to that. But all of these names are something that they hoped they would live up to. Well, in Hebrew thought, and this is where we're going back to, names were incredibly significant, and God's names are just as and more so significant. And when you use his name, be careful that you don't use it in vain, as the third command prohibits.
Does it really matter to God how we use his name? On the book of Leviticus chapter 24, verse 11, there's the story of two men who are in a fistfight. And one of the guys, evidently the one that's losing, he blasphemes and he curses. That's all it says.
It doesn't give us the expletives. It just says he blasphemes and he curses. And so it was so serious back then that they took the man to the elders and they said, what are we going to do? This man cursed. He took God's name in vain. And God's answer was stone him.
Now, fortunately, that, of course, in this dispensation of grace is not the immediate practice. However, Ephesians chapter five gives these words. In fact, you ought to turn to Ephesians chapter five.
You'll find that this command just has just as much serious import today as it did then. Although there is not immediate death, notice what he says in chapter five, verse four. He says, and there must be no filthiness and silly talk or course jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks for this. No, with certainty that no immoral or impure person in the context, what's he talking about?
Someone with that kind of mouth. He says that this person who is an idolater has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. An individual who lives in the name of God is constantly used in vain, as we'll learn later in our study as a person who is indicating that God is not prominent, that God is not worshiped, and therefore his name is used in vain, indicating he is not of God.
So it is very serious then and it is serious. Now, in fact, when we use the name of God, we need to be prepared to worship. I think there are three ways today that people use God's name in vain. The first one is commonly thought of when we think of using God's name in vain, and that is profanity. And I've written beside that using his name in the wrong context. Now there are three types or classes of people who take God's name in vain by the way of profanity.
Let me give them to you. The first I think is the uninformed. This is the individual who is oblivious to what God has revealed about his name, perhaps a young person who has yet to understand the gravity of what they may be repeating. The reason I know that is because I can still vividly remember an elementary school experience of my own life. I think I was in third grade and I overheard some older boys saying some words. And I remember as I heard them and then watched them, I thought the way they acted, boy, that was kind of tough.
That must be big guy talk. And I can remember having a crush on a girl, the only one I ever had, except my wife, obviously. And I thought, boy, you know, this would be impressive if I talked to her that way. And I remember talking to her using the words that I'd heard these guys say.
She was not so uninformed. In fact, by the time she finished turning me in, you'd think the National Guard had been called in. I was in very serious trouble. My only defense was I didn't know. I didn't know what it meant. I did from then on. I could never use that excuse again.
It only worked once. But you see, that's the case, I think, with people who are uninformed, perhaps younger people who don't know that God's name is sacred. It is to be sanctified. I really think that this is the smallest of all three classifications that we're going to talk about, because I think in the heart of everybody, the reason they go after God's name, the reason they go after Jesus or Christ is because written in their heart is rebellion and they're seeking the highest form that they can, in effect, shake their fist at. But if you are uninformed after this sermon, you will not be.
So you cannot use that excuse. Number two would be the uncontrolled, the uncontrolled individual. I think that moment of fury or pain or disappointment when you smash your finger with the hammer, when you are cut off in traffic, when you are cut out of a promotion by someone else and those words come out of your mouth, you are uncontrolled. We're not just talking about unbelievers.
We are talking about the believer who is not controlled and it reveals itself in those kinds of situations. In fact, I think that's what David had in mind in Psalm 143, when he said, Oh God, put a guard at my mouth. Watch over my lips. He's literally saying post a sentinel at the door of my lips.
This means a lot to me because we used to play little league growing up on the base there in Norfolk, which was the Navy town. And you had to drive your car past that little gatehouse where that military man stood and he would watch all of the cars coming through. And if you didn't have a bumper sticker indicating you were part of the military, you would be stopped. And he'd lean down and he'd ask what we're doing.
And we'd say, we're going to play baseball. And he'd say, go on through. And on the other side was a guard who would carefully watch everyone who would come out.
And if you were part of the military, you had to have a pass or he wouldn't let you out. Isn't that interesting that the David is in effect saying post a sentinel, don't let anything past it in it or out it that is not pleasing to you. Watch it carefully because there may be something let go that hurts the credibility or the security of this base and my character. So he says, post a guard.
I don't want to be in control. In fact, in a later song, David will talk about setting a watch over his lips. And it's interesting the context there. His son Absalom is in rebellion. It is one of the most difficult times in David's life. And it's at that time that David says, God guard my mouth because I don't want to slip. I don't want to say anything even in this terrible situation that would bring dishonor to your name.
So there are the uncontrolled. You know, I believe since we all can fit into that category, I'm convinced the one statement that I read, if we are in the habit of using God's name the right way, we will be less likely to use it the wrong way. It is developing the habit of referring to God and Jesus and Christ in the right context. And that will protect us as we mature in Christ, never to use his name. That's the last thing that would come out of our mouths during uncontrollable moments perhaps.
And then there's the third and that is the unsaved. And I think that's the person who uses God's name to kind of boast of his independence. J. Verna McGee, an old commentator who's now in heaven, said that he believed that if you could tape record everybody's conversation for a week and then play it back, you'd have enough evidence to determine whether or not they were a believer. I think that's a biblical thought because in Colossians, it says that one of the marks of a believer that sets him apart is his vocabulary.
He says, I want you to season your conversation with salt. Someone has calculated that there are 30 conversations a day that you get involved in. 30,000 words. Every year, you and I write 100 books, 200 pages long each, which means that you and I are authors.
We are rapidly filling up a library of our words. And when we come into contact with Jesus Christ, we change perspective. And the thing that sets us apart from the unbeliever is the way that we use words and especially how we use his name. I cringe at someone who says they know Jesus Christ, and then I hear them use God's name in vain. In fact, to me, that is a red flag. Why? Because Paul says this distinguishes us from the unbeliever.
It's interesting. If you study the life of Peter, you remember when he was by the campfire warming his hands, he was about to deny Jesus Christ. And you remember that servant girl recognized him and said, hey, you are part of them.
You're Galilean. And he said, no, I'm not. And later someone else pressed him and then another pressed him. And finally, what did he do? He cursed. He swore. He called down curses. And isn't it interesting that no one else ever accused him of being part of the band that followed Jesus Christ that did it. Street talk took care of any further accusation.
He was off the hook. Isn't that an incredible implication? It is the way that we talk that tells the world that we are following Jesus Christ as one of the highest indicators of whether or not we're part of his band. So the uninformed, the uncontrolled and the unsaved that I believe is the classification of people who profane his name. And that usually is what we think of when we think of taking God's name in vain.
But there are two others that I think camp a little closer to the church of Jesus Christ. The second is hypocrisy. That is using his name for the wrong reason. Hypocrisy. Mark chapter 12 verse 40 talks about the Pharisee and the scribe who for appearance, quote, for appearances sake, offer long prayers. In other words, they are invoking the name of God to impress someone. How often do we do something?
Give fast or pray. Those are three things that are supposedly done in secret, as it were. And there is something about it that we must let people know that we're doing it. When we do, we literally take his name in vain. We use it for the wrong reason. It is to bolster us.
It is to be impressive. And so they would pray long prayers for appearances sake. I wonder how many come to church for appearances sake.
That is hypocrisy. That's using his name for the wrong reason, which I believe is taking his name in vain. Matthew chapter 7 verse 22 is an interesting passage where it's, in effect, the judgment and Jesus Christ is telling the religious leaders one day, you will come to me and you will say, Lord, Lord, haven't we done all of these things? Haven't we cast out demons? Haven't we prophesied in your name? Haven't we performed miracles in your name, in your name? And Jesus Christ, the judge will say, I never knew you.
Depart from me. That's an indication, men and women, that there are people today who use the name of Jesus Christ, who cloak their ministries in the name of God, who have no part of God. Hypocrisy at his most blatant form. God will one day say, I really never knew you, even though you use my name. I think we need to be careful how we use God's name as believers.
Be careful, men and women, that you and I don't use his name at the drop of a hat just to defend our position. Be careful when you say, I prayed about that. Be careful when you say, God led me to do that. God told me to do this. Be very careful because you are invoking the name of God as your defense. And remember that thought, his ways are not my ways. His thoughts are not my thoughts.
Be careful to bring into alignment with your ways, the character and quality of God. I'll never forget riding the bus to school in college. I went to Liberty for a year, and this is before they had a campus.
And we would ride an old school bus to a public school. And we were sitting on the bus, and I was sitting beside this gal, and she has just gotten engaged. And at that point in time, I was kind of full of questions. And I remember talking to her about it, and she said, yeah, I'm just so excited that God led us to do this. And I said, well, how do you really know that this is the time, and this is the guy? And she said, well, you'll never believe it. And I thought, boy, she's going to see it written in the sky or something, and I'm taking notes.
She said, my fiance and I were at the mall, and we went into a jewelry store, and the ring that I liked fit. Of course, who would question that? It must be God's will.
Boy, that poor gal, I hope it fits for 40, 50 years. Be real careful when we talk about God as if we know God wants us to do something. Not that we cannot know or be certain in our hearts, but there are a lot of people who are using his name to defend their causes when their motives are wrong. The third, the final one, is insincerity. This is using his name with the wrong attitude. There are three ways. First of all, using his name without reverence. I think this is the expressions.
You understand the context of what I'm saying here. It is the person who says things like God Almighty or Oh Lord, Oh God, God. It is using his name without a tone of reverence. It is pulling his name into something without a reverential attitude.
It has no place there. His name is reserved. He said, in effect, set apart my name before the nations.
That is, make it special. When you use it, make sure it's a special time or it's reverential. It isn't a slang word. It is somebody's name. The Hebrews were so careful of his name that they only spoke it once a year.
And it was not everyone who spoke it. It was the high priest on the day of atonement that would verbalize the name Yahweh once a year. Now we bask in the light of grace that we can come and say his name freely. I would never want to go back to just saying his name once a year, but let's not become so trivial and trite with his name that we use it for everything, whether the car is stuck, the dinner is burned or whatever.
It's not, Oh God, his name is not for that. I think it's interesting as well that we use Jesus's name all too freely. One thought that has struck me reading and preaching through the Gospel of Mark and then of course Paul's epistles, and I want you to note this carefully. We could debate this and this is just a seed for thought. It is a rare thing for someone after the resurrection of Jesus Christ to use just the name Jesus.
Pick that up. You read the epistles and it is always the Lord Jesus. It is always Jesus Christ, the Lord Jesus Christ.
I think there was a subtle implication there that these men knew. Now he is resurrected. Let's attach to his human name, his deity.
Let's be very careful. It isn't, Hey Jesus, it is Jesus Christ. It is the Lord Jesus, the Lord Jesus Christ. There was another way that we can use his name insincerely, and that is using his name without reason, using his name without reason.
I think I've already illustrated that way. When the supper's burned or whatever, you pull his name into a context where it has no business being. There's just no reason to use his name like that.
Develop a habit. In fact, husband's wives kind of nudge each other and check each other. When you say that around the house, if you do say something else, say your wife's name, Oh Cindy or whatever, that'll go far. Don't say his name.
That'll straighten you guys out. Then the third, and I think this is a fairly important using his name with repetition. It's interesting in the pagan context, whenever they wanted to get the attention of their God, they would repeat his name over and over and over again. You remember when, when the prophets of Baal were on the mountain, they repeatedly called out his name. You remember when the Ephesians repeatedly called out great as Artemis or Diana, great as Artemis or Diana.
They constantly said that trying to invoke her attention, trying to get Baal's attention. We don't go to somebody to get their attention and say, Hey, Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe. Hey, Frank, Frank, Frank, Frank. No, it'd be silly.
Be careful. There isn't anything pietistic about his name. It isn't a magic formula.
And I think it is used irreverently if it's used as some kind of formula. If I repeat it over and over again, maybe I'll get his attention. He's a deaf.
He heard you the first time. I think that's a very irreverent use of his name. Using it without reverence, without reason and with repetition. Now let me give you three things about his name that never change by way of application. Number one, reverencing his name is our highest purpose.
Psalm chapter 34 verse three, David says, go magnify the Lord with me. Let us exalt his name together. In fact, one of the corporate pursuits of colonial Baptist church is that we can magnify his name together. Come let us exalt his name together.
Let's set this name apart. Let's give it a special place. Let's use it in a special way of worship. It's one of our pursuits as a body of believers.
Representing his name is our honored position. Let me read you this passage. Second Corinthians 5 20 from the amplified.
He says this. So we are Christ's ambassadors. That is, we represent his name. God making his appeal as it were through us. We as Christ's personal representatives, you for his sake to lay hold of the divine favor now offered you and be reconciled to God. You know, it is interesting that we go in the name of Jesus Christ as his honored ambassadors.
Third, revealing his name is our heavy pursuit. The third command in Exodus chapter 20 verse seven, where he says, do not take my name in vain is much more than prohibition. It is much more than saying, don't do something.
He is going far beyond that. I believe in saying, set it apart, reverence it, reveal it, represent it, give it a, give it something other than a commonplace position. Give it a special place. We don't only reference it, represent it.
We try to reveal it. Matthew chapter 28, the great commission says, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name, in the name of the father and the son and the Holy spirit. That was Stephen Davey as he continues through his vintage wisdom series down from Sinai. Stephen, when you first preached that you were fresh out of seminary and your voice sounds like it.
It sure does. Well, that was, oh, I don't know, 30 years ago or so. And God has continued to bless his word over these many years. You know, Scott, this is an important time, actually, when you mentioned seminary, made me think of the fact that we're registering now for fall classes at Shepherd's Theological Seminary.
That's right. Shepherd's Seminary is a fully accredited graduate school, training men and women for a lifetime of Christian service. Registrations are now taking place in earnest.
God is choosing to bless Shepherd's Seminary with tremendous growth. And you know, if you're listening right now and you've wondered, could I take an online course right from my home that's accredited? Yes, you can.
Could I earn a degree online? Absolutely. Or maybe you'd like to move here to the Cary, the Raleigh Cary area in North Carolina. And if you're a wisdom listener, we actually have something that you've worked on, Scott, in recent days. Yes, we do. We have a discount code that you can use to receive a free application to Shepherd's Theological Seminary. When you go online to fill out your application, if you use the discount code WISDOM, your application fee will be waived. Now, Steven, in addition to moving here to Cary, there's also other locations where you have campuses.
Right. We have teaching sites, one in Tampa, Florida, one in Laramie, Wyoming, and one in Bryan, Texas. And then, of course, we have students right from their home who take course online through Zooming.
Now, these are live interactive courses. Every class I teach, by the way—I teach creative Bible teaching, I teach pastoral theology—I can see that student on my laptop and he can see our class. He can wave his hand at me and I can answer his question. I can turn him off if I want to, by the way. I'm teasing.
I wouldn't do that. But it's live interaction with our students, which makes a tremendous difference. You're not watching a DVD, friends.
You're not watching something that was recorded three years ago. This is live Zoom, and all you need is a computer that has that little camera built in, and you're live right in that classroom with me. It might be that you just want to take a class or two, or as Steven said, you might want to pursue a degree. But if you want to go deeper in your study and knowledge of God's Word, we really encourage you to think about Shepherd's Theological Seminary. If you go to our website, you'll find us at wisdomonline.org, scroll to the very bottom of that page, and you're going to see a link to Shepherd's Theological Seminary. So again, just go to wisdomonline.org, scroll all the way to the bottom of that page, click on the link, and you can learn more about that school.
And don't forget that discount code. If you decide to apply, use the word wisdom, and your application fee is going to be waived. Scott, I find it interesting, by the way, that 10 to 15 percent of our student body at Shepherd's Seminary comes from listeners to wisdom. And that's exciting. In fact, our youth pastor right now at the church where I'm pastoring, the Shepherd's Church, he came as a result of radio. In fact, his mother began listening to me and told him about it, and he checked it out and said, you know, that's how I want to preach. I want to be expounding the Word of God verse by verse. And he's been through our seminary, he's a graduate, and now is on our staff. So it's exciting to know that God is using radio to introduce people to deeper study through a graduate program that prepares them for a life of ministry. So if you or someone you know is interested in a graduate level education in Bible theology, there's a counseling program, there's a doctor of ministry program.
And again, you can do this in pursuit of a degree, or just take a class or two. But visit wisdomonline.org for information. Well, we're so glad you joined us today. We're going to go back to the vintage version, Steven, of your voice as we continue through this series next time. Come back and join us for that right here on Wisdom for the Heart. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-20 02:34:59 / 2023-03-20 02:45:53 / 11