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The last two weeks I have preached on the first two commandments from Exodus 20. This Lord’s Day, we turn to v 7 and the third commandment: 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. In forbidding the abuse of his name, God assumes the holy and reverent use of his name. Such a use we find, not only in the first line of the Lord’s Prayer, Hallowed be your name, but in our call to worship for this coming Lord’s Day, Psalm 105:1-3: O give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! To call upon God’s name means that you pray and depend on him above and to the exclusion of any other gods. God’s Name stands for all that God is in his glorious essence and works. God saves those who so call upon his name. So v 3 calls us to glory in his name. This means Israel was to return glory to God for who he is, especially as he had revealed himself to them with the sacred name Yahweh and as their covenant God. To glory in the holy name is certainly opposed to taking it in vain. Those who glory in God and the things of God hate any profane or debasing use of God, his sacred name, or the things of God. Instead, they glory in that name. In our worship service this Lord’s Day, as we gather together in the Name of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor 5:4), I trust we will come with this holy purpose, to glory in God’s sacred name with hearts of love and adoration for who he is and what he has done.
In the prayer service, I will return to Paul’s prayer for Philemon. We’ll begin the service singing the hymn we will be learning during the month of March, “Christ, the Life of All the Living” (Gray 162).
We live in a profane and blasphemous society. The third commandment calls us to be different. In it we see God’s zeal that we be reverent with holy things, especially in the way we speak of his name. As we will see, this goes far beyond the use of a short list of “cuss words.” The world considers such concerns “puritanical” and even the evidence that Christians are out of date. But the third commandment stands. It stands right there with polytheism and false gods and idolatry and covetousness and adultery. God gave to Israel with a grave threat: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Call to Worship: Psalm 105:1-3
Hymn 301 [Red] Father, Most Holy
Congregational Reading: Psalm 111:2-9
Doxology: Doxology, Red 437
Hymn 148 [Gray] O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
Hymn 307 [Red] How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds There is a good and proper way to use the names of the three persons of the Godhead. Certainly, the way John Newton glories in the precious name of Christ in this hymn is a good example of a right use of the things of God. Instead of using Christ’s name in a light or trivial way, the believer who sings this hymn with reverence and understanding glories in the name of Christ. Where the lawless profane the name of Christ, for us it is the Dear Name, the Rock on which I build, my Shield and Hiding Place, My never-failing treasury, filled with boundless stores of grace!
Scripture Reading: Exodus 35:4-29 & Revelation 3:1-13
Hymn 343 [Red] Blessed Jesus, at Thy Word
Sermon: Taking Up the Sacred Name from Exodus 20:7
Hymn 294 [Red] At the Name of Jesus
Instead of Sunday School, we will remember our Savior’s Death as we share Communion together.