The Tremendous 10: Watch Your Words

The Tremendous 10: Watch Your Words

Over the past three weeks we have been entrenched in a series dedicated to the ten commandments.  Today we look at the third commandment which has to do with cherishing God’s name. 

So, what is God’s name?

We learn God’s name in Exodus 3 when God introduces Himself to Moses.  Moses asks God what His name is.  He wants a name to take to Pharaoh so God obliges him.   YHWH is a Tetragrammaton or God’s given name in the Old Testament but Bible scholars cannot agree on exactly how this name of God was or is to be pronounced. When God revealed His name to Moses, He revealed Himself as YHWH or Yahweh which is best translated as “I AM WHO I AM” again, in all capital letters (EX 3:14-15).  The Hebrew for “I AM” is “ehyeh” which could also be read to mean “I will be” but when God refers to Himself it must mean “I AM.”   I AM means that God exists already and is the speaker when this is used but when humans speak of Him it could be said “HE IS” (again, all caps).

When Moses is introduced to the living God, He immediately understood the gravity of the meeting.  His life would never be the same.  Now that He knew the name of God, Moses’ trajectory in life would be drastically different.  

Friends, that’s what happens when we encounter the name of God.  God’s name is meant to change us.  His name has weight and should never be taken lightly.  God’s name is not the punch line to a joke or a cursing to call down on someone.  God’s name brought freedom to the Israelites.  Jesus understood that the name was important.  Remember the Lord’s Prayer captured in Matthew 6.

Matthew 6:9 ESV
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…

I want us to have the same attitude of Christ this morning.  Let us make the name of God holy instead of humorous.  

God’s Name Is Not Humorous, It is Holy!

Exodus 20:7 ESV
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.

Why Should We Value God’s Name?

I. God’s Name Is Cherished

Illustration: William Booth Changes His Name To Jesus
When Salvation Army founder William Booth was dying, there were some legal matters to tend to. The lawyer said to Mrs. Booth, "If you can get him to sign these papers the will will be executed much more smoothly." The problem was that he was drifting in and out of consciousness, and often delirious. But they were able to wake him long enough to try to get the signature. Miraculously he was able to grasp a pen and begin signing, though scribbled somewhat roughly. The lawyer said it was good enough. Then he died. Later examination revealed that on every one of those papers the signature was different than his known inscription...matter of fact, it was not even his name...on every line he wrote: Jesus.

The only name on his mind in his dying moments...and it should be our most respected name in all our living moments.

I am going to make some of you very jealous right now.  Every week I preach I get thirsty behind the pulpit.  Sometimes I wish I had a cold bottle of water to sip on but week after week I never bring a bottle of water with me.  Today, this changed.  Yet, I didn’t bring a bottle of water, I brought something far more delicious.  I have with me a cold Dr. Pepper.  Any Dr. Pepper fans here this morning?

You know what’s unique about Dr. Pepper?  If you look really close at the can you will see the Dr. Pepper logo and a small TM by the logo.  What is that TM?  What does it mean?  The TM stands for trademarked.  The Dr. Pepper name is protected by a legal trademark.  This means that no other company, individual or entity can use the name or logo of Dr. Pepper.  Another company cannot sell their drink or product with the name Dr. Pepper.  


The name of Dr. Pepper is valuable.  When people here the name Dr. Pepper they know what they are getting.  They are reminded of a distinct taste.  

So, what happens when other company’s cheapen the valuable name of Dr. Pepper?  We have products like Dr. Perfect, Dr. Choice, Dr. Bold, Dr. Bob, Dr. Wow, Real Dr., Dr. Thunder, Dr. Right, Dr. K., Dr. A+, Dr. Skipper and Dr. Snap that hit the self.  Sounds like Dr. Pepper and has a similar look.  Dr. Perfect and all the others tastes a little like Dr. Pepper but let’s be honest, Perfect is no Pepper.  

Friends, we must remember that in Exodus 20:7 God is essentially trademarking his name.  His name is valuable and he demands that His name is to be protected.  When we use His name in normal everyday conversational speech we demean it’s value.  We cheapen God’s name when we use it to condemn or convict.  God’s name is holy and powerful and when we use it as a common expression we take the holy and drag it into our humanity.  

How do we do this?  When you say Gosh, Golly, Jeez, Gah, we have shortened the name of God and made it trite and common.  Friends, God’s named was not meant to be shortened.  It is meant to be held in high regard and when we use God’s name, it is meant to be said in reverence.  

Psalm 111:7-9 ESV
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever,to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever.Holy and awesome is his name!

Why Should We Value God’s Name?

I. God’s Name Is a Cherished 

II. God’s Name Reveals His Character

Let’s play a game for a moment.  Everyone good with a game this Sunday morning.  I am going to say some names and I want you to give the thumbs up or thumbs down according to their names.  Ok?  Here we go.  

Mother Teresa


Billy Graham

Jack Kevorkian 

Saddam Hussain 

Adolf Hitler

Charles Spurgeon 

From what I can tell people pretty much voted the same way.  Those of you who gave a thumbs up on Kevorkian, please don’t visit me in the hospital.  What did we just do?  Every one of us just made snap judgements according to a name.  We said “yes” or “no” to someone by just hearing their names.  


Friends, a names are rightly associated with actions.  Mother Teresa is known for her love and care for the poor. She ministered to the down and out and that is something that we all would aspire to be. Madonna is known primarily for her sexuality and sultry music.  Billy Graham helped shaped the modern day rivals and he served as a catalyst for seeing millions come to Jesus.  Kevorkian is known as the Doctor of Death.  Hussain is known for being a tyrannical dictator.  Hitler a genocidal maniac.  Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers and one of the most effective Gospel communicators of his time.  

So, what does God’s name reveal about Him.  

God’s Name Revels His…

A. Power (God Is Everlasting)
Isaiah 40:28
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

B. Productivity (God Frees People From Slavery)
Isaiah 59:1
People of Israel, the Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you. His ears aren’t too deaf to hear your cry for help.

C. Protection (God Protects His People From Harm)
Psalm 121:7
The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life;

D. Plan (God’s Ultimate Mission…Salvation)
Matthew 1:21
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

Practically Speaking:
So, what does God’s name mean?  That’s right, I am that I am.  Let that sink in for just a moment.  His name is not I Was.  It is not I Will Be.  It is I am.  Why is that important.  Think about Moses.  Moses was a traitor, a murderer.  No doubt Moses was racked with guilt concerning his past.  Now Moses has met God and God has given him a new task.  Imagine what Moses must have felt.  Don’t you think he was gripped with fear about the future?  He was probably terrified about facing the Pharaoh.  He had no idea how his tomorrow would turn out.  Friends, God wants you to know that He does not dwell in your past and He is totally in control of your future even though you fear it.  God is with you NOW.  He is with you in the Present!  God desires to live in this moment with you today!  

Friends, I believe that God’s name reveals his character.  God loves you and longs to set you free from your past and promises you a grand future.  He is with you in the present and will help you overcome your problems.  

Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Why Should We Value God’s Name?

I. God’s Name Is a Cherished 

II. God’s Name Reveals His Character

III. God Name Reveals A Calling

We know that God’s name is meant to be cherished.  He tells us not to take it in vain.  Simply put, it is not meant to be spoken or treated like every other word in the English language.  We learn a lot about God’s character in His name.  We also have a distant calling to do something with God’s name.

The nation of Israel carried around the responsibility of bearing God’s name. Remember, when Israel joined into the covenant, they became God’s people. (Exo 19:4-6 NIV) ’You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." This covenant means that God promised to provide for them and protect them. But it also meant that they bore the responsibility for carrying God’s name to the rest of the nations of the world. When others looked at Israel, they saw God’s people. They got an idea of what God was like. They carried God’s reputation with them just like every can of Dr. Pepper carries the reputation of their parent company. You bear your parents’ name. Your parents may have said something like this whenever you got into trouble: “Don’t you know that what you do reflects on us and on the family name?” The actions of Israel didn’t just reflect on Abraham, their ancestor. Their actions reflected on God and God’s name because they were God’s people. How did they live up to their role as the bearers of God’s name?

Turn in your Bibles to Malachi 1:6-14. 

Malachi 1:6-14 ESV
6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ 7 By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord's table may be despised. 8 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. 9 And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. 10 Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. 11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. 12 But you profane it when you say that the Lord's table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. 13 But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. 14 Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.

So what is Malachi saying.  Friends he is telling us that we can take the name of God in vain when our lifestyles don’t match what our mouths profess.  We cheapen the name of God when our actions embarrass Him.  Remember, there is severe punishment for those of us who choose to take God’s name in vain either with our mouths or our actions.  

God’s intention in choosing Israel as His people was so that the nations could look at Israel and would praise and magnify God’s name because of what they saw God had done in this group of people – how he had taken one man, made him into a great nation, rescued that nation from slavery, and then had given them a beautiful land.

Every morning I drive my boys to school.  We do two things every day. As we drive we listen to a short devotional.  Following the devotional I pray for my boys out loud and in their presence.  I pray that they will recall their studies.  I pray that they will live for Jesus at their school.  I pray that God will protect them.  I also remind them whose they are and that they have a responsibility to carry not only my name, Davidson, but that they also carry the name of Christ with them.  I pray that they will not do anything to soil both their family name and more importantly the name of Christ.  

Malachi 1:11-12 ESV
11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. 12 But you profane it when you say that the Lord's table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. 

Why Should We Value God’s Name?

I. God’s Name Is a Cherished 

II. God’s Name Reveals His Character

III. God Name Reveals A Calling

Use God’s Name Properly!

1. Regard His Name (Praise His Name)
Philippians 2:9-11 ESV
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

2. Revere His Name 
Luke 11:2
And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.

3. Reveal His Name 
Matthew 28:19-20 ESV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

4. Rigorously Defend His Name 
1 Samuel 17:26 ESV
And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?

God’s Name Should Bring Blessing…Not A Bruising!


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