The Third Commandment: Taking the Name

By Joe Boot/ January 26, 2014

Series  Ten Commandments

Context  Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic  Law & Gospel

Scripture  Exodus 20:7; Philippians 2:5-11

The Maker, Sustainer, and Governor of all things, our Lord and Savour, has a great name honoured above all others.  God's name is taken in vain whenever we use it without due consideration and reverence.

Scripture:  Exodus 20:7; Philippians 2:5-11

Sermon Notes:

  1. God’s name is taken in vain whenever we use it without due consideration and reverence.
  2. People are offended by the Ten Commandments because they are viewed as negative and offensive.
  3. The pagan practice of legislating positive concepts such as the “health of the people” can lead only to tyranny.
  4. The Bible’s negative concept of law is essential to the heritage of freedom in western nations.  It is practical, plain, and realistic, prohibiting a specific act, such as theft.
  5. Biblical law is given a modest and limited role, and entails a limited state.  The law is to restrain certain evil actions rather than trying to control everybody (cf. 1 Tim. 1:8-11).
  6. When the law prohibits blasphemy, it allows free speech.
  7. Positive enactments of law such as “health of the people” mean that elite state planners must regulate everything.
  8. The Maker, Sustainer, and Governor of all things, our Lord and Savour, has a great name honoured above all others.
  9. Adam was to name, classify, and define all creatures. But God reveals His name as the self-defining I AM (Ex. 3).
  10. God is beyond definition in terms of our human limitations.
  11. God is independent existence, immortal, invisible, the all wise God, and the source of all definition.
  12. Jesus self-identifies as I AM in John 8:58.  Jesus is the full manifestation of God’s name in His person (John 17:6).
  13. To usurp God’s prerogatives or to use His name in association with falsehood is the essence of blasphemy.
  14. Swearing and filthy language can also be blasphemous.
  15. The reverence and honour of God’s name was so important to the Jews that they hesitated to use it.
  16. Despite God’s greatness, in Christ, we have the awesome privilege of calling Him Abba (“Daddy”) Father.
  17. Every religion, every state, has a law against blasphemy.
  18. Under the modern state, the concept of blasphemy is transferred to the self-identifying man.
  19. In a time of cheap oaths and vows, how can you have a justice system, how can you trust witnesses?
  20. The name of Jesus is to be highly reverenced; we should not use His name idly, or as a polite expletive.
  21. We are blaspheming the name of God 1) when our lives are not holy; 2) when we disbelieve God’s word; 3) when we take oaths falsely on the Bible; 4) when we murmur against God’s law; 5) when we deliberately distort God’s Word (cf.  Prov. 19:29; Gen. 18:25).
  22. To take God’s name, but not to believe Him is to make Him a liar.
  23. It is unloving to let people continue in habits of profanity and blasphemy.

Application Questions

  1. In what ways do we fail to honour and respect the name of God?
  2. In a blasphemous culture, how can we hallow God’s name?
  3. Why is the negative and limited concept of law essential to civic liberty?  Cf. Paul in 1 Timothy 1:8-11.
  4. Why is man’s self-definition an attempt to play God?
  5. In our culture what gods are hallowed and protected?
  6. Recount how God’s name is exalted in Psalm 145.

Sermon Notes