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What's the Big Deal with God's Name? | Honoring God's Name

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
September 18, 2023 3:00 am

What's the Big Deal with God's Name? | Honoring God's Name

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 18, 2023 3:00 am

God Almighty is worthy of all glory and honor. We’re mere men and women under the umbrella of His divine authority. So how inappropriate is it to express some kind of disrespect or dishonor to God on high? It’s almost a question that doesn’t need to be asked. Yet so many dishonor the Lord by using His name inappropriately. Does it bother God? Well, today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that transgression is mentioned in God’s top ten list of commandments.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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The Christian Car Guy
Robby Dilmore
A New Beginning
Greg Laurie

You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at Some people text O-M-G, O-M-G, O-M-G, I just said the most amazing burger, O-M-G, in a way, wait. Do you really mean to invoke the name of the most high God for your burger? God Almighty is worthy of all glory and honor. We are mere men and women under the umbrella of His divine authority. So how inappropriate is it to express some kind of disrespect or dishonor to God on high?

It's almost a question that doesn't need to be asked. Yet so many dishonor the Lord by using His name inappropriately. Does it bother God? Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that transgression is mentioned in God's top ten list of commandments.

This is the day, the day when life begins. So I was in the gym the other day. That might come as a surprise to some of you working out. And it was a rare moment because there were two other guys in the gym with me and we all happened to be named Greg.

This is a rare occurrence. There's not a lot of Gregs out there. And so we had a Gregapalooza. That's what it was. Or if you're from the 60s, it was Gregstock.

But we laughed for a moment. Hey, we're all named Greg and nobody's named Greg. And it may be because of what the name Gregory means. It means rotting potato.

No, it doesn't. It actually means watchman. But there's a lot of the other names, more popular names. People will think so long and hard about what to name their children. I read the other day that the top names for girls right now are Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella, and Sophia. The top names for boys are Liam, Noah, William, James, and Oliver. Do any of you have kids with those names? Yeah. So these are popular names.

Here's a funny thing. A new name that's popular right now is Kylo because of the popularity of Star Wars. Kylo Ren? Wouldn't you want to pick a good guy instead of the bad guy?

I guess he's somewhere in the middle, isn't he? And now a new thing is people like to give their children geographical names like Austin, Dakota, Zaire, Dallas, Sky Ridge, Brooklyn. Very popular names. I'm wondering, has anyone named their kid Riverside yet? Here's our son Riverside. And here's his sister Pedley. Maybe it's not the most feminine name. We call her Pedley.

And here's our newborn San Bernardino. But his nickname is Burdu. Burdu.

Burdu? Come on here. And then there are these demented parents that decide they want to torment their children with weird names that they have to live with. These are real names.

There's the Turner family. So what do they name their daughter? Paige. Hi, I'm Paige Turner. Why would you do that to a kid?

It's real. They did that to their kid. And then there's the Case family. So what else are you going to name your son but Justin? So he has to introduce himself as Justin Case.

How about this? The Arm family named their boy Carl. So he says, hi, my name is Carl Arm.

Carl Arm. Right? Crazy. And then the Bacon family. That's already a pretty unusual name. Bacon. So they named their son Chris, middle initial B. Hi, I'm Chris B. Bacon. Right?

Crazy. The Dover family named their daughter Eileen. Eileen Dover. Really people?

Really? A lot of people use biblical names to their children. We named our son Jonathan. Christopher as well. That's not a biblical name.

But Jonathan is. And you might name your son David or Abraham or Moses or Peter or Paul or name a daughter Mary or Sarah. Those are great names. It's great to have a Bible name. But there are some names you probably shouldn't use for your children. If you have a daughter, don't name her Jezebel. But it's in the Bible. Yeah, but Jezebel is evil.

Okay? And don't name your son Judas. There's a little boy here. Judas. Judas. Middle name Iscariot.

Yeah, no, not a good idea. Never name your boy Lucifer ever. Here's little Lucifer. Now that's a name for the devil.

Don't use that for your child. Names matter. Names define us. And God cares about his name a lot. So I want to look at now the third commandment. You shall not take the Lord's name in vain. I think this is one of the most misunderstood of the commandments. And it's probably one of the most easily broken commandments because it's so misunderstood.

One of the obvious ways is profanity. By the way, damn is not God's last name. But a lot of people will use the Lord's name that way to punctuate sentences. Ironically, some people who claim to be atheists will use that phrase and even use the name of Jesus Christ a lot.

And I'm curious. If you're an atheist and you don't believe in God, why would you use the name Jesus Christ to make a statement? You'll hear people say, Jesus Christ. And if I hear someone say that, I'll react to it. I think more than any profanity, that is the one, it offends me.

I know it offends God. I'll say something like, carefully might answer you sometime. Or, oh, you know him too? He's my best friend.

So glad to hear you say his name. But I think in a weird way, when a person uses the name Jesus Christ, they're acknowledging there's power in that name by using it even if they don't believe. Remember this about an atheist.

As C.S. Lewis said, even atheists have moments of doubt. Right? So I think when they use that name, they're acknowledging there's something powerful, something special in that name. In other words, if they hit their thumb with a hammer, they don't say, Hare Krishna.

Why not? Because there's no power in Hare Krishna. Or if they stub their toe, they don't say, Buddha, Buddha.

No, no Buddha. There's no power in the name of Buddha. But there is power in the name of Jesus Christ because it's a name above all names. Philippians 2, 9 says, God has exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus Christ every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. So Exodus 20, verse 7 says, you shall not take the name of the Lord in vain for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Power in that name. Salvation in that name. Because the Bible tells us in Romans 10, 13, anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. And listen to this, there's healing in that name.

In the book of Acts we read the story of Peter and another who are walking into the city of Jerusalem by a gate called Beautiful. There sits a man who is not able to walk. He's begging for money. Peter looks at him and says, listen buddy, loose paraphrase, I don't have any money.

But I'll tell you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk. And Peter reached down and took that man by the hand and pulled him to his feet. And the man not only walked but he was leaping into the air and praising God. Now you hear a story like that and say well that's great for back then but I don't know that God still heals people today.

Actually he does. Because over in James 5, 14 it says, are any among you sick? Well then they should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil. In the name of the Lord. Jesus said in John 14, 13, you can ask for anything in my name and I'll do it because the work of the son brings glory to the father.

If you ask anything in my name, I'll do it. Now of course that's not carte blanche, meaning whatever I pray for in the name of Jesus won't happen because God is so loving he won't answer all my prayers in the affirmative. Have you ever prayed for something you realized was a really stupid thing to pray for? And then later said, Lord, thanks for not answering that prayer.

The Lord will overrule when he needs to but we're commanded and encouraged in scripture to pray for these things in the name of the Lord. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. You know when you've walked in the very land where Jesus himself walked, you'll gain a whole new appreciation for the truth of scripture. Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here inviting you to the Harvest Ministries Israel tour April 9 to 19, 2024. This will be an unforgettable journey through biblical sites and a unique opportunity to grow in your own faith. Listen, spots are limited. Be sure to sign up as soon as possible at

Again, it's Hope to see you there. Well, we're considering the Ten Commandments today and specifically Commandment 3, don't take the name of the Lord in vain. Pastor Greg continues now. Why should I not take the Lord's name in vain? Well, the answer is given in verse 7. The Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

This is no idle threat. It's simply a statement of fact. God is laying down an unchanging truth like the law of gravity.

If I step off a 30-story building, I will fall to my death because of the law of gravity. And if I take the Lord's name in vain, I will not be held guiltless. But some people go out of their way to take his name in vain. They go out of their way to mock God. They go out of their way to insult Christians.

Maybe you're one of those people and you think it's all a big joke. Careful now. The Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. It reminds me of the story of that boy king, Belshazzar.

Silly boy. Ascends to the throne. Assumes all that power. And the first thing he does, it gives a command to bring in all the goblets and the dishes and the cups that were used in the worship of God by the Jewish priests. And he says, bring those to me now. And so they're set before the king and he fills them with wine. And he gets all of his lords together and says, let's toast our false gods of Babylon. He was going out of his way to mock God. And the Bible says while they were doing this, there was a hand seen writing on the wall. Just a hand. And it wrote the words, many, many, Tekel, you farcen. Which means you've been weighed in the balances and you've been found lacking. Loose paraphrase, party's over.

Your number's up. And that night Belshazzar died. Why? Because the Bible says, don't be deceived. God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows, that will he also reap. So we don't want to take the Lord's name in vain.

But how do we do this? One way we do it, and we may not even realize it, is when we always feel we have to swear to God about everything. You say, man, come on, believe me, I'm telling you the truth. I swear to God it's true.

Right? Or you say, I swear on the Bible. Or even more, I swear on a stack of Bibles. See, if it's a stack, you'll have to believe me. Why would you have to ever say, I swear to God it's true? Probably because you're not known to be a truthful person.

Right? So Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5, 37, said, You've heard that the law of Moses says don't break your vows and carry out your vows. You may eat to the Lord.

But listen to this. He says, I say to you, don't make any vows. Just offer a simple yes I will or no I won't.

That should be enough. If you need to strengthen your statement with a vow or your promise with a vow, that shows something is wrong. If you say you're going to do it, do it.

Let your yes be yes and your no be no. So let me illustrate. If someone calls you up, you want to go to dinner? This is not one of your favorite people.

But they did offer a treat. So you said, eh, okay, sure. You pick a place and then 10 minutes before it's time to meet them, your best friend texts you, hey, you want to get dinner?

Yes. So you go back to that other person. Sorry, bro, dot, dot, dot, smile emoji. I'm not going to make it because something came up. And you send it. Then you go down to the restaurant to meet your friend and that person you stood up is there.

And then you have that awkward moment. You said you would do it. You should do it.

Let your yes be yes and your no be no. When you commit to do a job, whatever business you're in, you commit to do a job, do it well. Christians should be the hardest workers. They should have the most integrity.

They should be the most honest people. First there, last off the job, putting in the extra work, going the extra mile. I bring this up because I've seen Christians use their faith as an excuse for laziness. Hey, why aren't you doing your job? Aren't you supposed to be sweeping that floor? Well the Lord just like directed me to pray. Okay. Well the Lord might be directing me to say goodbye to you and hire somebody else in your place.

I don't know. If you're going to do it, do it well. How about marriage? We commit ourselves to that man or that woman. That's a commitment for a lifetime.

And if you're not willing to make that commitment for a lifetime, do us all a favor and stay single. But I see even Christians are people that claim to be followers of Jesus bailing out of a marriage when it starts to get hard. Listen, every marriage is going to get hard. Every marriage is going to have its challenges. Yeah, but you don't understand, Greg. We have irreconcilable differences.

Every couple has irreconcilable differences. But the Lord can help you sort through these things. You've made a commitment. Honor your commitment. And single people, don't rush into marriage. Just don't. As Benjamin Franklin said, keep your eyes wide open before marriage and half shut afterwards. But far too often, it's the opposite. My eyes are half shut.

Or you say, he's my project. I'm going to fix her. Don't go into a marriage to fix somebody. Hate to break this to you.

They're probably going to get worse. If you can't love them as they are and you want to make them into something else, you're going to be sorely disappointed. Look for a spiritual person. Look for a godly man. Look for a godly girl. That's even more important than how attractive they are.

I get attractiveness and I know that we're drawn to each other in that way. But that spiritual commitment to Christ is so important. And take your time when making that choice. And then once you make it, keep that commitment.

Another way we take the Lord's name in vain is by not mentioning it at all. You know, maybe someone will come up to us and say, man, I see that you're just such a loving husband or wife. I see you with your kids. I see how hard you work, how honest you are, how compassionate you are toward people in need. I admire you so much. What's your secret? And you say, well, I tell you what, I drink a glass of milk every morning.

Seriously? Well, I do drink milk, Greg. Yeah, but that's not why you are that way. Give God the glory. Well, thank you for saying that. The Lord's done this in my life.

Right? I wasn't always this way. But Jesus Christ came into my life and changed me. I'm not perfect, but if you see something like that in my life that you admire, that's the Lord. You can take the Lord's name in vain by not bringing his name up at all.

The phrase in vain means it's empty, idle, insincere, or frivolous. Don't use the Lord's name in an empty, idle, insincere, or frivolous way. Some people will say the Lord's name over and over without any awareness that they're saying it.

Like they'll say, hey, how you doing? I was just walking down the street, praise the Lord, and then I got a burger, praise the Lord, and then I was just thinking about you, praise the Lord, and praise the Lord, and praise the, stop, stop. Stop saying that so much. Well, no, what do you mean praise the Lord? I don't know what praise the Lord. Okay, I'm glad you're praising the Lord.

But are you? Are you really praising him? Are you thinking of the Lord God when you're saying that or is that just like a empty cliche or you're doing it in an idle, insincere manner? Another way we can take the Lord's name in vain by just saying oh my God all the time.

It's a default expression. Oh my God. Oh my God. Right?

Or you text OMG, OMG, OMG, I just had the most amazing burger, OMG. You know, wait, wait. Do we have to drag God into this? I mean, do you really mean to invoke the name of the most high God for your burger?

Right? So that's an empty way. That's sort of a frivolous way. Don't use the Lord's name in a frivolous way.

That's a frivolous way. Now if something happens, you hear bad news or something else and you say oh my God, that's different. You're calling out to God.

But some people just punctuate sentences with oh my God or OMG. Another way that we do this is by using God's name for personal gain. You know, people start businesses and they want people to know they're Christians. This is my gardening service.

It's called God's gardening service. Okay? Okay. Are you any good?

Well, it's God's. Yeah, but are you good? Do you do good work? Or do you just use the name of the Lord to get business?

I mean, if you're gonna use his name, I hope you back it up. Christian carpet cleaners. Yeah, well I don't want my carpet cleaned by non-believers ever.

Only a Christian should do it. I mean, great. Do good work. Be honest.

Be honest. And sometimes people will use the name of the Lord to get a sale. A number of years ago I was looking at some truck somewhere and the car salesman was cussing up a blue streak.

I mean, lots of profanity. And then he says to me, so, tell me, what do you do for a living, Greg? He said, I'm a pastor. He went, oh. And then he literally said, praise the Lord. I'm like, oh please, just stop. I liked you better the old way.

At least you were just being what you were and now you're being fake. Hallelujah. You know, the Lord spoke to me through my devotions today that I'd make a sale to. Just stop. Don't use God's name.

Don't use it in an insincere or a frivolous way. Pastor Greg Laurie is showing us the practical application of the third commandment today here on A New Beginning. We are in a series within a series, a sub-series called 10, within our larger collection of messages on the life of Moses. Pastor Greg, Johnny Cash has been in heaven for about 20 years now.

That's right. If you had a chance to ask the man in black one question, what would it be? What would I ask Johnny Cash? Hey Johnny, are we actually related?

Because, you know, when I was a kid, you all know my story. If you've seen Jesus Revolution, my mother was out living her wild life, so for a period of my childhood, I lived with my grandparents. We called them Mama Stella and Daddy Charles, and they were from Arkansas. And I remember watching Johnny on TV in my grandparents' home, and every now and then, Johnny would get himself into trouble, and my grandfather would be reading the newspaper, and he'd fold the top down, look over to his wife, Stella, and he'd say, Stella, your cousin's in trouble again. So I grew up wondering if I was related to Johnny Cash.

Well, I actually did some research with a genealogist that goes to our church, and as it turns out, I probably am related to him distantly because my grandparents came from the same area of Arkansas that Cash came from, and my grandmother's maiden name was Stella Thaler Cash. So, hey Johnny, are we cousins? That might be interesting to find out, but I thought how cool in heaven it would be to go see Johnny in concert.

You know, the funny thing, we think about heaven as this surreal place with, you know, just sitting around in clouds, and actually the Bible describes heaven as a real place, a real people where we do real things, and you might be out with some friends, and they say, hey, we're gonna go to see Handel's Messiah tonight. Handel himself will be there, wanna come? You'd say, no man, I'm gonna go see Johnny Cash. You mean the man in black? Well, he's actually the man in white now. You know, will we hear Johnny Cash perform music in heaven?

Why not? So, one day we will see him, and we'll be reunited with loved ones that have gone before us, but you can hear him and learn a lot more about him right now in a new resource that we are offering. Now, as you recall, we did a film called Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon that was in theaters around the United States. Well, now it's available for the first time on DVD. Now, it is streaming out there on different platforms like Apple and Amazon, but we're offering it on DVD with some special bonus content, including a special presentation of the gospel I did sort of wrapped around the story of Johnny Cash. And also, we have a streaming code with this DVD that we're offering you, which means you can download the movie to your laptop, to your phone, to your tablet.

You can keep the DVD or give it away to a friend. What a great gift to give to a non-believer or someone that's really struggling spiritually. So we wanna make this available to you now for your gift of any size. Whatever you send us will be put to good use to enable us to continue to teach God's word and preach the gospel here in a new beginning, and we will rush you your own copy of this brand new DVD, Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. Be generous in what you send. We have to pay a bit more for this resource than we normally pay, and we wanna thank you in advance.

You're gonna love having this movie in your home or available to show to people whenever you want. It's yours to keep. All right, well, the fastest way to make those arrangements is to call us at 1-800-821-3300. We're here around the clock to talk with you. Again, 1-800-821-3300. And thank you for your generosity. Your gift helps us reach out with the gospel each day here on A New Beginning. You can also write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514.

Or go online to Well, next time, more about the practical insight we can glean from the Ten Commandments. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie.

This is the day, the day when life begins. Hey, everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to And to find out how to know God personally, go to and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-29 09:31:08 / 2023-10-29 09:42:07 / 11

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