This Sunday, June 11th, 2017, Pastor Duane White unpacked an amazing to continue our series Timeless Ten here at The Bridge Church in Denton, TX.
Timeless Ten: It’s All in the Name
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” (Exodus 20:7, NIV)
When a baby is born, the first thing that people usually ask is, “what is the baby’s name”? Names are very important, and when people remember your name, it is a big deal. It makes you feel valued, thought about, and loved.
There are certain names that conjure up different emotions associated with that particular name. It could be a good association or a bad association. Think about the different emotions you feel when you hear the name Adolf Hitler versus the name Mother Theresa.
To the Hebrews, a name was a big deal. They labored greatly and thought intently before they named a child because God had taught them the importance of a name. In fact, when they encountered God, they would call that place by a name associated with the part of God they encountered. These are what we call the Jehovah names of God, such as Jehovah Jireh (provider), Jehovah Rapha (healer), Jehovah Shalom (peace).
A name represents a nature. The Hebrews were naming the place to declare to the world the nature of God that had been revealed to them by the encounter. The names we use for God represents our true view of God, and speaks volumes as to what we really believe about His true nature and character.
The third commandment says that you shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. How do we misuse the name of the Lord?
If you grew up in church, you were probably taught that this commandment means that you do not cuss using the name of God. Now, while that can be considered a gross simplification of this truth, it is still true, we should not use God’s name as an expletive. Using His literal name as an expletive is rampant in our society. The media and movies are huge for using Jesus’ name as a cuss word.
Isn’t it funny though how society has chosen those names, the ones that should be associated with a loving God, instead to swear with? Could one reason that this happens be perhaps that there is a deeper, more sinister plot than just to get people to “cuss” in the name of the Lord? Is it possible that using God’s name that way is not the problem, but rather the by-product of a deeper problem? Is it possible that we could live our whole life and never use God’s name as an expletive, but still misuse the Name of the Lord?
Remember a name represents a nature, so are we “misusing” the name of God by “mis-representing” His nature? In other words, are you truly representing the true nature of God with what you are saying about God? Or, have you let bad theology cause you to associate things with His name that are contrary to His nature?
Have you ever wondered why, when a hurricane destroys the coastline, or a tornado ravages a city, or lightning strikes and destroys a building, the insurance companies want to call it “an act of God?” But, if storms are from God, and Jesus rebuked the storm in Mark 4, then He was rebuking His heavenly Father.
Isn’t it odd how, when something goes well society says, “Man, that person is lucky!” But when something goes wrong, many times even non-Christians will say, “God why are you letting this happen to me!?” When something bad happens and we shake our fists at the air and scream “Why won’t you fix this God,” we may not be cussing in His name, but we are certainly not understanding or representing Him well.
Could it be that we have fallen into the trap of letting wrong thinking about the character and nature of God cause us to misuse His name?
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” -A.W. Tozer
When you hear someone say “God,” what comes to your mind? Creator? Redeemer? King? Judge?
He is a creator, that is true; but before God created, He had it in mind for us to be born and come to know him and be born into his family as his children. Before God was a creator He was a good, loving Father. Creation is what He does but a Father is who he is.
He is a redeemer. We messed up and needed redemption. He redeems because He is a Father who wants His kids back in the family.
He is King because He wants his children to reflect His rule, reign, and authority in the Kingdom. A king is always looking for an heir. Kingdom activity is a result of a relationship with the Father.
He is a judge, but He judges not to punish us, but to pass out rewards. As a dad, sometimes you have to “judge” which kid is right, but that is not to condemn the one that’s wrong, but to protect the family. God is not a judge who sometimes fathers, but a father who sometimes judges.
- If you first think of God as creator, He is some distant figure that cares little about you or your issues.
- If you see Him first only as redeemer, then maybe you owe him a debt to pay back because of the price he paid.
- If you see Him first as king, then maybe you are a mere subject of the Kingdom, and on good days He’s a good king, but on bad days he’s a mean king.
- If you see Him first as judge then maybe He is the man upstairs that is waiting to beat you over the head when you mess up.
We must remember: God is always first a Father!
Now, depending on your interactions with your earthly father, that could trigger all kinds of thoughts and emotions. The lenses through which you view God will distort, or make clear, every situation you face. Not only is it important to view God first as Father, it’s imperative we know what kind of Father He is.
God is a good, loving Father. God Created the world as your playground. He loved His kids so much that He would pay any price to get His family back. He is a King, but you are His prince or princess. His judgement has been, and always will be, in your favor, and He is now only judging to give you bigger rewards.
The revelation that He is a good and loving Father changes how you view everything. Tragedy is not God’s way of punishing you for your sin or some distant-figure-in-the-sky’s passive aggressive way of dealing with humanity, but rather the result of the fallen world we live in. Your Heavenly Father is working all things together for your good and He is using you to RE-create His good in the world.
His name is good because He is good.
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31, NKJV)
We are called to represent His name in the earth. We are called to RE-present His name in the earth. To present that beautiful name for what it really is.
It’s All in the Name.
Watch the full message here:
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