Ten Commandments: #3 – Don’t Take His Name in Vain

Continuing our discussion of the Ten Commandments, let us briefly examine the third.

  • God is love.
    • Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
      • 1 – You shall have no other gods before Me.
      • 2 – You shall not make for yourself an idol.
      • 3 – You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
      • 4 – Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
    • Love your neighbor as yourself.
      (i.e., Treat people the same way you want them to treat you.)

      • 5 – Honor your father and your mother.
      • 6 – You shall not murder.
      • 7 – You shall not commit adultery.
      • 8 – You shall not steal.
      • 9 – You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
      • 10 – You shall not covet.

People commonly think that this commandment is a prohibition of cursing, but it is much more than that.

From our earliest days on earth we are trained to be sensitive to the sound of our own name.  Will someone say your name within earshot and you not notice it?  Will people talk about you and you not pay attention?  If we pay attention when our names are being used, does not God hear when people say His name?  Filler phrases like “O my God” and “Lordy, Lordy” are vain because they appear to address the Lord but seldom actually do.  Even when we use the Lord’s name in a more sober and thoughtful way, are we staying aware that He’s actually paying attention to our words in that moment?  Are we using His name with an awareness that He’s always within earshot?

Beyond the use of a name as a way to address someone, there is the fact that a person’s name is his reputation.  That is, if you have “a good name” it means you have a good reputation.  Therefore, if you are known as a Christian, what is this doing for the reputation of Christ – is it enhancing His reputation or detracting from it?  As I’ve heard others ask it, “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”  A follow-up question could be, “And what would be the nature of that evidence – would it be that you go to church or that your character and behavior remind people of Jesus?”  If people associate you with the name of Christ, do not let it be in vain.

Consider also that by telling us that Jesus is Lord, the apostles were putting us on a first-name basis with the ruler of the universe.  If you were on a first-name basis with the president of the United States, would you never seek access to him or even give him a call?  People who accept that Jesus as Lord without calling on Him regularly are accepting His name in vain.

Do the questions I’ve asked about His name cause you to feel guilty?  Do not resist the guilt; accept it and repent.  Change.  Today.  This is the true Christian life: repenting and following Christ more and more with each new day.  What matters is not whether you are already like Him, but whether you are becoming more like Him with the passing of time.

Love Is Better Than Knowledge

Knowledge is good.  In fact, it’s wonderful.  Love, however, is even more wonderful.

It’s good that we know God, but it’s better if we love the God we know.

Speaking the truth is good, but speaking the truth in love is better.

It does no good to know everything there is to know about God if you are not using that knowledge for the purpose of loving God and people.

Whether you have a little knowledge of God or a lot, you can always love with all your heart.

However much knowledge you have, love God and people with all your heart.  Knowledge is good…but love is even better.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Let Not Many of You Become Christians

Becoming a Christian is not for the faint of heart.  Neither is it for those who think it is a means for bringing more material prosperity into their lives.

Becoming a Christian is a quest to follow Jesus, and to do so because it’s what you want most in life to do.

Love endures all things, and it is only love for Christ that will give you sufficient strength to endure to the end of your life in following Him.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

From Self-Centered to God-Centered

It’s a short and simple step from being self-centered to being God-centered…but it changes everything.  Everything.

Though this step is short and simple, it is not easy.  It does not have to be hard, but for many people it is.  What makes all the difference is your love for the Lord Jesus.  The less you love Him, the harder you find it to take this step and stick to it.

Therefore, if you want it to be not as hard…love Him more.

And if you want to love Him more, spend more time thinking about how much He has loved you.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

The Life Jesus Lived Was Love in Action

The law of the Lord is the life Jesus lived.  That is, the way Jesus lived is the way that His followers should live.  His life is the law by which we live, the law to which we freely and gladly subject ourselves.

What kind of life did Jesus live?  A life of love.  The Law of Moses had commanded that the ancient Israelites live by love – first for God, and then for each other.  Yet not until Jesus of Nazareth came on the scene had any of them succeeded in fully – and without the slightest deviation – living that law of love.  Jesus did fulfill that law of love and His life thereby became a living law of love for us.

In the Bible, we can read words about what love should do.  In Jesus’ life, however, we can see what love actually does.

In Jesus, we see how love behaves.  We see how love conducts itself under pressure.  We see love in action.

Let us therefore, by imitating Him, become love in action in His name and for His glory.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

What Are You Doing with Your Freedom?

God has given us free will.  We can do what we want with our lives.

We can use our lives to pursue the pleasures that this world offers, or we can use our lives to serve God and others in love.  The choice is ours.

If we have chosen to give our lives to Jesus Christ, we should do so cheerfully.  No one is making us do this.

Let us therefore serve Christ with a joyful heart, knowing that our love flows freely from our hearts.

We are not sad that we have forsaken the love of pleasure – we are happy about it!

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

The Love Chapter…Embodied

1 Corinthians 13 is that chapter of the Bible that begins “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”  It is often called “The Love Chapter,” and is one of the most recognizable portions of Scripture.  That such elegant prose can be found in the Bible makes it worthwhile book.  What makes it even more worthwhile, however, is that Jesus and His apostles embodied the love that is described in that chapter.

Would that we who seek to follow them would similarly embody that love!

It’s edifying to hear that chapter read.  It’s more edifying to see it lived.  And most edifying of all to live it yourself.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Is this statement – “Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” – just boilerplate language to you?

Let’s break it down.

“Lord” means that He tells us what to do.  And what He tells us to do is love.

“Savior” means He rescues us from evil in this life.  Do you pray “deliver us from evil” every day?  He will.

To summarize, “Lord” implies His commandments to us.  “Savior” implies His promises to us.  Together, His commandments and promises constitute the covenant relationship that binds us to Him.  It’s a relationship stronger and deeper than marriage.  Stronger, because it endures past death, and deeper, because it reaches beyond the physical and mental to the deepest core of our inner being.

Let not “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” be mere boilerplate language to you.

In fact, let no word in the Scriptures be mere boilerplate.  Let no word of God be taken lightly.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Christ Died for All, That All Might Live for Him

Jesus Christ died for the human race that He might give us a new purpose for living.

No longer wandering aimlessly in life, striving for money, power, and pleasure, we turn our hearts toward Him.  We imitate His life.  We do the things that will please Him.  Our ways were not working.  Our former pursuits were not bringing us the lasting peace and joy that we had hoped.  His rewards are surer, more frequently given, and more enduring.

Living for Christ is the new purpose in life that animates us.  We do not seek our own pleasure – we seek His.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.