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The Third Commandment - Do not misuse God's name

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The Third Commandment - Do not misuse God's name

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Introduction

A boy spray painting God's name as graffitti. The relationship based on love and respect that we have with our parents mirrors our relationship with God, our spiritual Father. Just as our parents give us rules and obligations to follow for our benefit, so does our spiritual Father. These guidelines are God’s instruction on how to have a better life now and provide us the opportunity for eternal life in the future! God’s instructions are found in His Ten Commandments. These commandments teach us the proper relationship we should have towards God and our fellow human beings. This discussion guide will help the user understand how observing the third commandment is essential in developing that proper relationship with God.

The Third Commandment Stated

We show our love to God by honoring and obeying Him. We should respect and worship Him to the greatest of our abilities. One of the most important ways to respect God is found in the Third Commandment. The Third Commandment concerns the sanctity of God’s name. We are commanded by God to honor and respect His name: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7 Exodus 20:7You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.
American King James Version×
). “Vain” means empty, useless, false, unreal, and worthless. In short, taking God’s name in vain refers to the abuse, misuse, blasphemy, cursing, or manipulation of the Lord’s name. So, use of God’s name in vain involves:

1. Trivializing His name by looking at it as being insignificant. Give an example.

2. Trying to use it to advance negative purposes (the way priests of false religions used the names of their false gods). Give an example.

3. Using it in worship thoughtlessly. Give an example.

4. Using profanity or blasphemy is obvious violations of the 3rd Commandment. Sometimes people substitute words (euphemisms) for the name of God. For example, “Gee” or “Golly” is sometimes used in exclamations.

5. What other euphemisms have you heard?

6. Do you think using euphemisms violates the spirit of the 3rd commandment? Why or why not?

The Third Commandment as it Relates to our Relationship with God

II TIMOTHY 2:19: “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

ROMANS 2:21-24: “… You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For ‘the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,’ as it is written.”

Can a person disobey the other commandments without breaking the third commandment? How does one break the third commandment by not obeying the rest of God’s Law?
LEVITICUS 22:31-32: “Therefore you shall keep My commandments and perform them: I am the Lord. You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel.”

According to The New Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus, the term “to honor” means “to treat with significance.” To treat something with significance is the opposite of taking something “in vain.”

Give some examples of the positive use of God’s name.

The commandment includes a stern warning to those who would take His name in vain (Exodus 20:7 Exodus 20:7You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.
American King James Version×
). Why do you think God feels so strongly about His name?

COMMENT: Why would you find it offensive if others were to treat your name disrespectfully? Names identify and instruct as to what something is. We all want good and honorable things associated with our names, because our names are reflections of who we are. All agree that a strong relationship is based upon respect. One of the most important ways to respect God is by reverencing His name. He tells us not to only obey Him, but also to hold His name as holy.

King David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22 Acts 13:22And when he had removed him, he raised up to them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.
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). What was his attitude toward God’s name? Read Psalm 145.

How do you think a person will treat Christ’s name when he or she realizes that salvation is only through Jesus’ name (John 20:31 John 20:31But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name.
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; Acts 2:21 Acts 2:21And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
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; 4:12), that we receive the Holy Spirit in His name (John 14:26 John 14:26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.
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), and that God will answer prayers in His name (John 16:23 John 16:23And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Truly, truly, I say to you, Whatever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
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)?

God’s Names

The Bible reveals a number of God’s names. “El” means the Almighty or God the Omnipotent. “Elohim” is the plural form of El. “Jehovah” is the common spelling of the Hebrew name of God which means the Eternal or the Immutable One. He lives forever and His character never changes. “Jesus” means, appropriately, “Jehovah the Savior.” “Christ” means “the Anointed” as were priests, prophets and kings in Israel. Each name or title reveals something of God’s character or divine nature. Find the name or title of God in each of the following scriptures. What does each name/title reveal about God? What does each name reveal about His relationship to each of us?

Exodus 15:26 Exodus 15:26And said, If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and will do that which is right in his sight, and will give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases on you, which I have brought on the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that heals you.
American King James Version×

Psalms 23:1 Psalms 23:1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
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Exodus 17:15 Exodus 17:15And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:
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Jeremiah 23:6 Jeremiah 23:6In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
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Exodus 31:13 Exodus 31:13Speak you also to the children of Israel, saying, Truly my sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the LORD that does sanctify you.
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Revelation 19:11 Revelation 19:11And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war.
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I Samuel 1:3
Revelation 19:13 Revelation 19:13And he was clothed with a clothing dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
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Psalms 7:17 Psalms 7:17I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.
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Revelation 19:16 Revelation 19:16And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
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Summary

1. What is our culture’s attitude toward the use of God’s name? Do the people you come into contact with have a reverence for God’s name or do they use His name in vain?

2. What is your reaction when you hear someone use God’s name thoughtlessly or without respect?

3. What have you learned about using God’s name properly and improperly?

4. Why is obedience to the 3rd Commandment vital to a positive personal relationship with God?

5. Will all people some day show honor to God’s name? HINT: Read Psalm 145 again.

In Matthew 22:40 Matthew 22:40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
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Christ asserts the proper attitude we should have towards God: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.” To love God is to respect and honor Him. God loves us just as our parents do. Like our parents, He shows us His love by instructing and guiding us. Our relationship with Him can be peaceful and strong if we follow His instruction with respect and loyalty. Reverencing God in all ways is how we show our respect and loyalty. Since God is good, all good things should be associated with Him and, that includes His name. We are well blessed for having a proper relationship with God. God intends that we bear His name someday (Revelation 3:12 Revelation 3:12Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write on him my new name.
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; 14:1)! Our blessing is becoming part of the God family and living with Him in His Kingdom forever. It is a reward of eternal life!