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God's Boundaries for Abundant Living - Never Abuse My Name, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
July 10, 2023 6:00 am

God's Boundaries for Abundant Living - Never Abuse My Name, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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July 10, 2023 6:00 am

So, what does it mean to take the Lord’s name in vain? Chip shares that it is far more than just saying the words; it goes deeper than that. Join Chip as he looks at this familiar commandment.


I have a confession to make. I have taken the name of the Lord in vain multiple times and in grievous ways, but I had no idea what I was doing.

Whatever you think it means to take the name of the Lord in vain, I've got news for you. It is a lot more serious than you probably ever dreamed. We need to re-examine this boundary together. Stay with me. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry motivating Christians to live like Christians. Today, Chip picks up where he left off in our series, God's Boundaries for Abundant Living, with the second half of his message on the third commandment God gave Moses. As Chip unpacks Exodus chapter 20 verse 7, he'll reveal that taking the Lord's name in vain is so much more than just the words that come out of our mouths.

But before we get going, if you're new to Living on the Edge or missed any part of this series, you can connect with us through the Chip Ingram map. Okay, here's Chip with part two of his talk, Never Abuse My Name. The second way that we break the third command is in our attempts to use God for personal gain. And if you write the word here, pretense. This is when we use the name of God to impress other people.

I don't know if you've ever done this. Maybe you're a little tired, and have you ever been in a little small group meeting, and there are people you really know, and I'm going to just admit this so I get this out of the way. And you're praying, and maybe you're not feeling as close to God, or you're not quite as in tune as you want to be, and your mind is kind of wandering, and there's four or five people. I mean, it's a prayer meeting at a church, and it's really important, or in a small group, and so-and-so prays, and so-and-so prays, and so-and-so prays, or like Saturday morning, we were out on this piece of property praying, and as we were praying, I mean, this lady, she was so moved by God, she started to kind of weep.

And then have you heard someone in that, you know, oh God, thank you. And down deep in your heart of hearts, you're sort of at a, oh God, I'd like to be a little more connected right now, but I'm just not quite into this at this level, but I'm going to trust my faith. Instead of praying and speaking in a tone of voice of where you're really at, you found yourself doing something like, oh God, please. Because other people in the room were praying in a way that demonstrated a level of intensity and sincerity, and what you wanted to project was, you had that same level of integrity and sincerity, and the fact is, you didn't. But the way you used God's name was in a way that indicated that you were a lot closer to him and a lot more serious about what you were praying than was really true.

Has anyone other than me ever done that? Please don't raise your hands. But that's, you take the Lord's name in vain. You see, it's pretense.

A second way our pretense is to exploit others for financial gain. I mean, Jesus vitamins. Jesus dolls.

I've got news for you. There's going to be some people that give an account of using the name of God to sell stuff. You don't use God's name to exploit. When you hear someone in a letter or an evangelist or a Bible teacher on TV, on the radio and say, if you don't give this money, God is going to take me home and kill me.

That's called exploitation and manipulation. That's using the name of God. This ministry will not last unless you send this money.

You have to do it now. God has revealed to me that you're to give it. And if you give it, I guarantee God will give it ten times back to you. That is manipulation. That is misusing. That is lifting up or bearing or taking the name of God in vain. It's pretense.

It's exploitation. Or I've actually historically seen the name of God used to justify evil and prejudice. Do you realize there were a lot of Bible believing Christians that were saying slavery, slavery? I mean, it's real clear.

Some people were one color. Other people, the Bible, you know, Cain. Cain had a mark on him.

We know what the mark is. And in the name of scripture and God, they promoted slavery, the inquisition, the crusades, racism. There's a lot of things been done in the name of God, the misuse of his name, that it violates the third command. Shout down, if you will, Isaiah 48.1.

Hear, O Israel, house of Jacob, who swear by the name of the Lord and evoke the God of Israel, but not in truth or righteousness. Anybody here ever had someone call you from your church and you don't know them? Or get a letter from a company and you realize, how did they get my name and it sounds real personal? You know, at our church, we had thousands of people involved and so we came out with those directories, right?

With the pictures. I wonder how many Christians use that directory as a mailing for their business. Or for finding all the phone numbers so they can make calls to solicit business.

Do you know what that is? That's using the name of God in vain. You know why you make a pictorial directory and put everybody's address and phone number? It's so brothers and sisters can get to know one another and love one another and support one another.

Not so somebody, somewhere, somehow can use a buck. To go to a church for business contacts, to make appearance in certain places at certain times, to be aligned with Christian things in order for financial profit is taking the name of the Lord in vain. And God says, stop. He says, stop.

Don't misuse my name. The first way is perjury, the second way is pretense, and the third is the most common in everyday, irreverent conversation called profanity. This is when just words kind of casually come out of our mouth.

I've divided profanity because I don't think we want to lump it in one big basket into what I call level one, level two, and level three profanity. Jesus' words make it clear that every single word that comes out of your mouth and my mouth matters to Him. Matthew 12, 36 and 37, I put it in your notes, Jesus speaking says, I say to you that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. I don't know about you, that's a verse that I almost wish I hadn't memorized.

Do you think of that? Every careless word that men shall say, you know why? Because in Luke 6, 45, He tells us what our words really mean. That's why James in James 3 says, if you can ever get a hold of your tongue, I mean, if you ever get a hold of your tongue and what comes out of your mouth, you will be able to guide your entire life. Because Jesus would teach that the good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good, and the evil man, or the evil woman, brings forth what is evil. For that which fills your heart comes out of your mouth.

If you ever really want to know your attitude about a person, if you ever want to know what's really going on in your heart, if you will kind of listen to your speech and your tone of voice, and whether it's negative or cynical or put down or critical, you can know exactly what's in your heart when you hear the words coming out of your mouth. And according to this, it's very clear that profanity, the casualness of our words with regard to the name of God is serious business to Him. So level one profanity is what I called it, is casualness with God's name. Last night, we sang a lot of songs, and God's name came up in them. If you were thinking about God as Redeemer and Lord and what He's done for you as you sang those songs with that word, you were worshiping Him in spirit and truth. If, however, when you were singing some of those songs, your mind kind of went, and you kept saying the words. I think it's fine to stop if you need to think about something. But if you kept singing and saying the word God, but your mind was over here about a business deal when you get back, or your mind was over here or mine was over here, in a casual way, you were saying the name Yahweh or God or Jesus, but there was no thought behind it.

You weren't engaged with the author of that name, his character, his reputation, who he is and what he's done. That's casually taking the name of the Lord in vain. Or if you're like me, there's been times where in a group, you couldn't think of what to say, and you were just saying, Well, Lord, I just, Lord, have you ever been in a prayer meeting where you wonder if people can't figure out, it's like it's a filler word. It's like a filler word. We pray to God as though evoking the name of the Creator of the universe who sent His Son and died and bled and rose from the dead, and will bring all of life and all the galaxies into judgment, that holy, most sacred name, we use it as a filler word.

Well, I'll tell you what, that doesn't go over well in heaven. That's a casual use of His name. Or as an expression of fear. Oh, God! Or as an expression of excitement.

Jesus, man alive, can that guy play? And I know what you're saying, Chip, I think you're being really picky here. You know, it just slips out, it's just a habit. I'm not really taking the Lord's name in vain. I don't mean anything by it. I really don't mean anything by it. I mean, really, I'm not taking His name in vain. I don't really mean anything by it.

Listen carefully. That's the point. You don't mean anything by it.

That's the point. Every time you use the name God or Lord or Jesus, and you don't mean anything by it, instead of meaning it to represent His character, His reputation, His deeds, His holiness, His love, His power, and what He means to you, it's lifting it up without purpose. It's lifting it up vainly. It's lifting it up even unintentionally with evil intent.

Do you get it? Boy, you know, this is one, too, I just have to confess. Not growing up in the church and not studying the Ten Commandments until I was a pastor for, you know, 10, 12, 15 years.

I got news for you. I violated this, the greater part of my Christian life. I mean, I had to start retraining my mind about what would come out of my mouth when the name Jesus or God or Lord. The second level of profanity is contempt for God's name. This is calculated malice toward God.

This is a line I saw in a little Bart Simpson cartoon where Bart bows his head and says, we made all this stuff, so thanks God for nothing. It's just contempt. This is the Da Vinci Code. This is when someone who says, this is all based on historical fact, and they make Jesus out to be having an affair with Mary Magdalene and all this gross kind of stuff or the last temptation of Christ where Jesus is a homosexual, that's contempt for God's name. The third way, third level of profanity is cursing God's name. Literally, when someone says, take this in the right spirit since we're teaching, God damn something, they're uttering a prayer. God damn, they're asking that the one who has the power to separate someone from him all eternally and place them apart from Christ and his love forever and ever, they're uttering a prayer, God, I want you to damnate this person and their soul forever and ever. That's what people are saying when they use the name of the Lord in vain. And notice Exodus 27 says, I, the Lord, will punish anyone who misuses my name.

And jot down under that just before you turn the page Leviticus 24, if by chance you're thinking, you know what, the first two commands, I was with you, I think you just went a little bit over the top, I think you're being a little bit too nitpicky, Leviticus 24 is the first violation of the third command I can find in Scripture. Can anyone tell me two men are fighting and in their fighting, one of them takes the name of the Lord in vain? I can only guess, he caught a right uppercut and then he got hit in the stomach and then he got really upset and then he blurted out the name of the Lord in vain. Can anyone tell me that was the offense? What was the punishment? It was capital punishment.

They were to stone him to death. See, here's what I want you to know, God's name isn't something to be carelessly thrown about. God's name is holy, God's name is reputation, God's name is who he is, God's name is what he's done. When it comes to our lips, our hearts and our minds need to be filled with who the God of the universe is, what he's like, what he's done, and what he means to us. And you know, here's the deal, if you over time can discipline and practice and ask the grace of God to help you do that, if you never take the name of the Lord in vain, you'll never violate commands number one and two because there'll be no other gods before you because you'll be thinking about him in a way like never before. And I'll tell you what, your means of worship, it will be holy, it'll be the right way.

There won't be any idols because his name and who he is and what he's done will come out of your mouth in such a way that some major transformation will have occurred in your heart. Well, let me apply this as we wrap it up because here is, I think, a pretty important question, is why is it then that otherwise intelligent people profane God's name? I mean, I'm just going to guess in a group this size, there's got to be a handful of people at least who basically came into this morning, had a nice breakfast, thought it was going to be a real nice sunny day, a little bit cooler than you thought, but it was going to be a great time around God's word and you're now sitting here in your most honest moments thinking, I take the name of the Lord in vain on a regular basis and whoa. So how could a person who loves God like you, who's an intelligent person, find themselves sitting in a room where you came to learn about the Bible and possibly be someone who takes his name in vain on a regular basis?

How could that happen? I've got three explanations. One, the spiritually uninformed. You just simply don't know better. Don't take, help me, the name of the Lord in vain and I thought that was not cussing and I do pretty good.

I mean, now and then with a hammer on my thumb, it sort of pops out that I don't cuss. I don't take the name of the Lord in vain. You were spiritually ignorant, okay, until this morning.

Consider yourself now informed, okay? Consider yourself now culpable before the God of the universe to take his name with a new level of seriousness like never before. And you know what? It will do something marvelous for your spiritual life.

It really will. See what we have? What we have going is, here's the view that we have of God. God is small, God is trite, God isn't holy.

You know what? He's become everybody's good buddy. He's been everybody's self-help genie. I want you to know that the God of the Bible is to be feared with reverential awe. He's a consuming fire. We need to get this balance of his great compassion and we need to get this sense of his otherness and his holiness and his creatorship. We need to get a high view of God. It is only when you have a high view of God that out of reverential fear, you obey him.

The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. And it is almost absent in the church today. Everyone's stooping so much, we got to connect with the culture, connect with the culture.

I got news with you. I think we can connect with the culture, but I think we've fallen into the culture. I see more of the culture in the church than I see the church transforming the culture. And it starts with me.

It starts with you. They only put on movies and on TV what people buy. If every Christian had a high view of God, Hollywood would go broke. No, they wouldn't. You know what they do? They're smart. They're not trying to pollute the world. They're trying to make money.

It's just easy to make pollution-type films because people will pay to see them. If the standard was this is what we accept and they made the highest margins on this kind of money, I'll tell you what, movies have changed. So let's not throw stones at what ought to happen out there. Let's ask God for us beginning with us individually that we repent and we get a high view of God and we live differently and we speak differently and we have this standard. And when all of our Christian friends say, oh, that movie was good except for this, this, this, and that, you say, you know what, it's this, this, and that that makes it unacceptable to me. God bless you. You have your convictions.

I have mine. I'm not going to support that kind of garbage. And you say it lovingly, nicely, winsomely without a self-righteous judgmental-type attitude that I sort of just threw in there so you can do better than me. Second is not only the spiritually uninformed but the spiritually undisciplined. You know, you're a believer, you're trying, it just slips out, casual profanity. And what I would suggest is if it slips out, whether it's casual profanity with God's name or whether it's cursing, I would suggest that rather than get all down on yourself, what I would say is there's probably something that God wants to do in your heart.

In other words, if God's name is casual, there's something that's disconnected between your heart and His. If you still find yourself swearing, you know, different people struggle with different stuff, but in the first few months, actually, boy, I swore like a sailor all my years growing up. But as I got into the Bible, and no one told me I had to, but I just, I went to a camp and I started reading morning and night, morning and night, morning and night.

As my mind got renewed, I can't tell you the day, I can't remember when I quit cussing. But all I can tell you was if you are in the Bible on a regular basis and digesting it, God will clean up your tongue, because your tongue is just a mirror of what's going on down here. If you got a real problem with profanity and you're a believer, and boy, you know, you say, boy, damn, wish I could quit, and ooh, gosh, that's not right, you know. You know, I'm just saying, I got friends, you know.

I'm glad they're honest. But you know what it usually tells me? It usually tells me there's a deficiency of what's going in their mind and their heart, and God wants to deal with something down in here.

And then third is what I call the spiritually dead. You know, I want to guard God's name. But you know, people that don't know God, it doesn't bother them when they take His name in vain.

They don't even hear themselves. And I've not taken it upon myself to be the Holy Spirit police for unbelievers. When people don't know God, they're going to take His name in vain.

And I think there's some creative ways when people are cussing like that. And as I read recently, one guy said, boy, you do a lot of your praying in public, don't you? And the guy said, what are you talking about?

And he was GD this and GD that. He said, well, you understand that you're uttering a prayer. And you know, I don't expect, what it tells me is when people have very, very foul mouths and use God's name in vain, it tells me they're not connected with Him and they don't know Him and they have great spiritual need. And what I need to do is have compassion. I need to pray. I need to move into their life. And my goal is not to figure out how I can clear up their tongue.

You know what, that's just the evidence. My goal is to figure out how can God use me to reach their heart. But if you just cuss and swear on a regular basis and everything I said is like, this doesn't bother me at all, then I would say, examine yourself. Because if the Spirit of God lives in you, then His name will matter to you because His character and His reputation is important to you and what He did on the cross is paramount to your life. And therefore, there will be a sensitivity to the name of Jesus. There will be a sensitivity to the name of God and Lord. And when you take the name of God seriously, you will find your view of God will get large and big and holy.

And you will find a lot of other like dominoes, things will get solved in your heart and your life. Lord, I want to thank you for the time together. And God, I confess to you now that I still fall short. And I thank you for this reminder that you are high and holy and lifted up, that it's in the name of Jesus that every knee will bow and every tongue confess and that there is no other name given unto men by which they can be saved. You called every being, every man, every woman, the beast of the field, the mountains, the streams to come and extol your name above all else because your name represents who you are. Lord, I pray that we could cherish your name. I pray that it would matter more because you would matter more and that you would fill in the name Jesus and God and Lord with content of your love and your holiness and your concern and your eternality and the reality of who you are in our hearts like never before. In Christ's name, amen. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and the message you just heard, Never Abuse My Name, is from our series, God's Boundaries for Abundant Living.

Chip will be back to share some insights from today's talk in just a minute. Many people today look at the Ten Commandments as an outdated and oppressive list of rules. So are they still necessary today? Does it matter if Christians follow them or not? Well, Chip addresses these tough questions through his detailed study in Exodus chapter 20.

Discover, rather than a rigid set of don'ts, how the Ten Commandments act as guidelines for a loving and caring Heavenly Father. I hope you can join us for every message in this series. To learn more about Living on the Edge or our many insightful resources, visit That's Well, before we go any further, Chip's joined me here in the studio now to share a quick word.

Chip? Thanks, Dave. I want to take a minute as we're learning about the Ten Commandments, God's boundaries for an abundant life, and I would tell you this. Listen very carefully. If your picture of God is one who is down on you, is angry, and you don't measure up, you will hear His commandments through a lens that feels like weight, that feels like I can never measure up, I'm not good enough. But the God behind these commands is a God who is loving, compassionate, gracious.

He's for you. And what I want you to know is right now, you can study the God behind the Ten Commandments. I wrote a book called The Real God, How He Longs for You to See Him, that gives you a high, accurate, clear picture. I can tell you that studying the very attributes of God has changed my life more than any single thing I've ever done. We also have a resource that as you read that book, you can share with your kids.

I mean, down to four or five years old, up to your teenagers. It's called The Real God Family Devotional. It's super creative, it's about seven short little, they're movies, I mean literally, the kind that, you know, your kids will watch, and then you'll have a discussion around them, and we've provided great questions and resources so that you can begin to talk together as a family about who is God, and what does it look like in my world, in my life, to walk with Him, to worship Him, and to share that love with my family.

Dave, why don't you tell them that we can get these resources? Be glad to, Chip. To learn more about Chip's book, or the Family Devotional, visit specialoffers at, or the Chip Ingram app. Through these tools, Chip explores seven core attributes of God revealed in scripture. Discover how knowing who God really is gives us purpose, security, and true joy in our lives. So if you want to transform your view of God, check out Chip's book, or the Family Devotional today, by going to specialoffers at, or the Chip Ingram app.

Well, here again is Chip to share some application for us to think about. As we close today's program about taking God's name in vain, you know, what we're learning, it means a lot more. You know, we talked about, you know, taking His name in vain in terms of perjury, about pretense for personal gain, and then an everyday, irreverent language, or profanity. And Jesus said, remember that word? He says in Matthew 12, every careless word men shall speak, you'll render account for in the day of judgment.

I'll tell you what, let that one soak in. We're living in a day where casual speech, what comes out of our mouth, in the name of grace, in the name of freedom, you know, hey, you know, what's the difference whether I say God or gosh? I mean, if I say a four-letter word here and there, you know, God knows my heart.

Don't be legalistic. There's a growing sense that what comes out of our mouth doesn't matter. Let me tell you, it does to God. There were three levels of profanity. We talked about casualness with God's name. You know, using God's name as a filler in. You know, you're talking to people, and oh God this, and oh God that, and oh God this, and oh my God, you know, oh golly. People, wake up.

Wake up. God's name should never be a filler. The second level of profanity was contempt for God's name. You know, this is, you know, the Da Vinci Code. This is, you know, stuff that basically is, I mean, really anti-God. And then the third level was cursing God's name, and the cursing in context here was willfully requesting God to send someone to hell. I mean, very, very serious stuff. Now, I'm just going to guess that in our listening audience, whether it's online or whether it's by way of radio, I'm really praying a lot of you aren't wrestling a lot with, you know, asking God to send people to hell.

But I'm on a number of campuses and teaching and hanging out with not just the younger generation, but there's a little flavor coming in our day that basically says, you know something, what comes out of my mouth doesn't really matter. You know, God understands. I just cuss. I can't break it. Let me tell you something. Your mouth reveals your heart.

That's not me. That's Jesus. Whatever comes out of your mouth, and I don't mean just profanity and four-letter words or using, quote, God's name in vain. I mean, what comes out of my mouth and your mouth reveals your heart, and God is going to hold us accountable for that.

And you may think it's, in fact, kind of cool. If there's anything I've seen more and more or else I've hung out is that, like, I so don't want to be stereotyped as one of those goody-two-shoe Christians. I so don't want to be put in that camp of people that are, you know, holier than thou. I almost need to prove that I'm Christian cool by doing a few things that used to be taboo, and one of them is, you know, have a swear word, sort of a little effect.

You know what's behind that? It's called ego, arrogance, and disregard for a holy God. And I want to tell you, if four-letter words come out of your mouth, God wants to say to you, you do not represent me well, and I will hold you accountable. Now, let me encourage, brothers and sisters, I didn't grow up as a Christian, and there's still a culture out there that when we hear people use profanity or use God's name in endless chatter, you know, I get news for you. We just think, pff, that guy calls himself a Christian. She says she's a Christian, and yet that comes out of their mouth. You are totally discounted.

But what's worse, the Gospel is discounted. I urge you, I plead with you, fellow Romans 12 Christians, fellow believers that really want to live like believers, will you please ask God to help your speech reflect the purity and the holiness of what he wants in your heart and what other people need to hear? Thanks, Chip. And as we close, I want you to know that as a staff, we ask the Lord to help you take whatever your next faith step is, and we'd love to hear how it's going. Would you take a minute to send us a note or give us a call?

Either one is easy. Just email chip at, or call 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003, or email chip at Well, I'm glad you've been with us. Until next time, this is Dave Drouie saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-10 05:15:36 / 2023-07-10 05:28:51 / 13

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