Month: June, 2016

“Honor Your Father and Your Mother”

“Honor Your Father and Your Mother”

Text:  John 19:23-27

Grace, mercy and peace be to you from God our Father…

Please pray with me…

Campbell Morgan, a great British preacher whose four sons all became preachers, influenced millions with His insightful preaching, teaching and writing. One day, when his son, Howard, finished a sermon, a reporter asked him, “Since you have five pastors in your family, who is the greatest preacher?” Expecting the son to give this honor to his father, Howard surprised the reporter by saying, “My mother.”

I think we can all relate to this as German Lutherans in the LCMS. Men might be the only ones who can be elder’s and preachers, but, if were being honest, when asked who makes most of the decisions for the church, the honor would have to go to the women.

It’s much like a marriage. God asks the men to be the head of their respective households, but women really hold the strings. We might wear the pants in the family, but the women tell us what leg to put in first.

It’s takes teamwork to make a marriage work and this is especially true when it comes to having children to care for. The vocation of mother and father is the highest calling we have in our worldly lives. In some ways, it dictates how all of our other earthly relationships will go.

It is right then, that God puts so much emphasis on this blessing of parenthood. Parenthood falls into God’s good and gracious plan for us and, if it works according to His plan, parents can be a great blessing.

We should understand, though, that some of us have a harder time feeling like honoring our parents because of past or even present abuses. Yet, God made no mistakes in giving us the parents that He did and we find evidence of this in Psalm 139 where it says:

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”

I think of my parents. Yes, they could have done things differently at times to better serve their vocation as parents, but there was no doubt they loved me and wanted the best for me. Even in facing their own demons, they tried to put their children above the battle. They weren’t perfect just as Cheryl and I are not perfect, but it’s because of them that I am who I am today, flawed but willing to grow.

God designed parent-child relationships to be among the most vital of all human relationships. When he gave us the command, He told us to hold our parents up in honor.

Now honor can be defined in many ways, but here God is calling us to the kind of respect that was mirrored in His own Son’s honor of Him. We have only to hear the familiar words, “Yet not my will but Yours be done,” to understand the love of the Son towards His heavenly Father. In this case our Savior is facing the most grueling of death sentences, yet He doesn’t run because He knows and respects the Father’s plan to save all of mankind.

The 4th Commandment is really about all relationships of authority, our parents being foremost among them. Martin Luther wrote in his explaination of this commandment that we should “Fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.”

Really, it’s a commandment about respect, and the honor we give in our relationships within the home, has a great deal to do with the respect we show to others in society, especially those in authority. Honor begins in our homes and, I believe, that is why God put it first among the commandments we have dealing with our relationships with others.

You look at our world today and how it rejects this commandment in so many ways. So many children, deciding for themselves that they know better. Parents worried sick about the wrong decisions their children have made without their guidance. Elderly parents being left to die in nursing homes with very little contact with their children. It’s sad that, in so many cases, people have devalued the vocation of parent to the point that we show very little honor at all.

Too many are no longer willing to hold themselves up as models of respect towards authority. In fact, authority is now something to fight against.

In many cases this is because parents have brought it on themselves. Their children see that they have little respect, so they grow to show little themselves. If children learn respect from their parents, they will be better able to show other people in authority that same kind of respect.

But we mistakenly believe that we only give respect to those in positions of authority because they have earned it. Respect cannot be based solely on personal or professional qualifications. Respect should also be given based on the position that God has given that person.

I think of the story of David and Saul in 1 Samuel 26. Here David knows that he has been appointed by God to be the next king of Israel, but he also knew that their current king, Saul, was out to murder him.

Yet, when David had the advantage and was able to kill Saul first if he chose, what was his response? David submitted to the authority of Saul, even at the risk of losing his own life. He submitted to the God given authority of the current king.

Each family has been established by God in this way and some parents are more worthy for honor than others. Yet each has been given authority by God according to their position within the family. You were placed in your own unique family with of all its own unique traits.

And God placed us within these families to be with those who would be nearest and dearest to us throughout our lives.

This commandment is placed even before marital faithfulness because the respect a child learns within the family goes a long way towards the respect they will give their spouse. We see so many broken homes today because each generation has learned from the past. We see so much abuse because of what we have learned in the home.

But this commandment doesn’t say, “Honor your father and mother only if their good to you.” It is clear that the honor God is commanding us to have for our parents comes from relationship not merit.

This commandment is so great because the responsibility within the commandment is so great. All families struggle, but ignoring the command towards honor is simply not an option for the Christian.

Nor does this commandment say to honor your father and your mother until you have formed your own household. This honor is to be ongoing throughout the time of our lives here on earth. We don’t honor parents only when they deserve it. We honor them because this relationship has been formed by God Himself. We do it for His sake, according to His will. Yet, not my will but Yours be done.

Have you ever stopped to think that, Jesus actually created His own parents?

Yet, when He was twelve and teaching in the temple despite His parents concern for His whereabouts, when they came for Him it says, He was submissive towards them. Think about that, your Creator is your son yet He humbles Himself to learn from you and follow your commands.

Even as He was dying, His respect for His mother was shown when, despite His great suffering, He thought to make sure His mother was cared for. This commandment doesn’t show us how to have great families. It shows us how to be great family members.

So, now that most of us have grown, how do we show the kind of respect that God is commanding us to have through this commandment? Well, first, we show that respect in our words.

Sometimes it’s easier to complement our friends then it is our parents. Too often our parents only hear the opposite.

Ephesians 4:29 says:

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Some of the things I have heard in anger towards one’s parents cannot be repeated in this pulpit. Anger because things are not perfect or maybe even as they should be, yet no plan to restore honor. I know of parents who haven’t even talked with their kids in years because of this or that. Broken relationships which God has planned to last a lifetime.

Just as in a marriage, God calls us to patience. A familiar passage for marriage also works in the parent child relationship. From 1st Corinthians 13:

“Love is patient and kind….it does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

So, in that spirit we are to show our parents some consideration and we do this by making time with them. No one should feel their duty is done with the occasional phone call unless that is all you can do because of the distance (and here I mean in miles) between you.

Spend time with your parents while you still have them. Enjoy your time together and make beautiful memories to have when they are gone. Restore damaged relationships and strengthen even the good ones. Let them into your life. Share with them your dreams and your disappointments. From Proverbs 23:25:

“Let your Father and Mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.”

Provide for them in their old age. Make sure they are cared for and cared about. As they age, help them to cope with the pains and limitations of aging. Be there for them when they find themselves alone. Provide for them when they are in want. Help them as they helped you when you found yourself dependent on them. 1 Timothy gives us fair warning saying in chapter 5:

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

God is most serious about this commandment to honor or fathers and our mothers. Not only must we model God’s command but we must require it from our children. It is our duty as parents to bring them to the understanding of how to respect authority and how important this is towards our relationships in society.

Children must learn that respect is not based on preference or popularity. It is a mandate from our heavenly Father. And, as God’s representative of Him on earth, we, as parents, are to please Him by doing as He would do, as we love, provide, care for and protect those He has given us. We do this because it pleases the Lord and because it also brings us pleasure. We do this because it is in the best interest of our children as it is in our own best interest.

God is lovingly at work in this commandment and those who choose to follow this command, benefit from it with enriched lives and solid relationships.

God knew His plans before you before you were even born and in every one of our cases, it began as children dependent on loving parents to bring us to a better understanding of our relationship with Him. From the first day of our birth, our parents were challenged to provide for us and care for us.

And no matter how we perceive to what quality this was accomplished, we are called to respect and love our parents without any pre-qualifications.

While we are required to honor parents, that doesn’t include imitating ungodly ones, and if a parent commands a child to do something that is clearly against the will of God we are to obey God rather than man. Yet, if we are to please God and be blessed, we need to honor our parents, even if it means we need to be the ones who are giving Godly instruction and guidance. Honoring is not easy in every case and its not always fun but it is certainly possible by the power of the Holy Spirit. By showing our parents honor we glorify our God. We end with Colossians 3:20:

“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”

Amen.

 

Bible Study: The Fourth Commandment


Honor Your Father and Your Mother

What does it mean to honor your father and your mother? Proverbs 13:1; Matthew 15:1-8

What does God have to say about those who do not honor this commandment? Exodus 20:12, 21:17; Leviticus 20:9; Deuteronomy 5:16; Proverbs 19:26, 20:20, 28:24, 30:17; Jeremiah 35:18-19; Romans 1:28-32; Colossians 3:20; 2 Timothy 3:1-7

According to God, what should be done instead? Proverbs 1:8, 13:1; Luke 2:46-51

The Greek word for honor means “to revere, prize, and value. How does that change your answer to question #1?

Is this commandment only talking about obeying fathers and mothers (see Luther’s small catechism)? Explain Romans 12:10; 1 Peter 2:17

Does this also mean leaders we might not agree with?

How should honoring earthly authorities, especially your mother and father, mirror our honor to God the Father? How is it different? Leviticus 19:3; Malachi 1:6; Hebrews 12:7-9

Is there ever a time when one must disobey one’s father or mother? Ezekiel 20:18-19; Acts 5:29

The first 3 commandments have to do with our relationship with God and the last 7 have to do with our relationship with God and each other. Why do you think this one is listed first among those that show us how to live with each other?

What are some factors that undermine honoring our father and our mother? How do they compare with those things that undermine our relationship with God?

What else does God have to say about honor? 1 Samuel 2:30; Proverbs 31:28-31; Isaiah 29:13; Hebrews 5:1-4

Is this commandment only for children? Explain

Why do you think that this is the only commandment that is accompanied by a promise?

What can you do, as an adult, to show honor to your earthly parents?

What can you do, as an adult, to show honor to your heavenly Father?

Remember the Sabbath Day and Keep It Holy

Text:  Matthew 12:1-8

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who with the Holy Spirit are three in one. Please pray with me…

Heavenly Father, come to us this morning in the Holy Spirit to guide us in the knowledge we need to live according to Your will. Help us to open our hearts and minds to you this morning as we prepare our hearts for your teaching and help us to use what we have learned to make a difference for You in this world. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

A certain minister had a weakness for golf, but he had no time for it. Searching his schedule, he found one day in the year when he could play. Unfortunately, that day fell on the Sabbath. The minister apologized to God and traveled some distance to a golf course so that no one who might know him would see him. As he teed up the first ball, an angel looked down from heaven aghast: “A minister is playing golf on the Sabbath!” He immediately told the Almighty about it. On the third hole, God sent down a gust of wind that made the minister’s ball sink into the cup….a hole in one! The angel watched, puzzled. “You call that punishment?” Think about it,” the Lord replied…”Who can he tell?”

Today we go on to the third commandment on our list, remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. If you look, it’s the longest of all the commandments and it seems to need the most explanation. It must have been important so let’s talk about it this morning.

Do you remember the old blue laws? There was a time, not too long ago, when most businesses were closed on Sundays. It still happens some around here but in most of the country, Sunday is like any other day of the week.

Of course, being open means that people are working more and as we look around and open our ears to the complaints of the day, it seems everyone is just tired. Burnout has become a real problem in America.

Maybe your feeling burnt out right now. I bet if you ask the farmers, they would say they could stand some time off. People are tired when they leave work and they’re still tired when they go back. It seems to never end. What we all need is a Calgon moment.

God has lots to say about this and I think it’s very important to understand just what the Sabbath is. The word, “Sabbath” I found, comes from the Hebrew “Shabbat,” meaning to cease or desist. The primary meaning is to stop all your work. In the commandment there are two reminders given:

First, God created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh and secondly, Israel lived in slavery in Egypt where they had no day to rest or to worship so God declared that there was to be a Sabbath, a day of rest AND worship.

And when is it supposed to take place? Well, the Muslims observe it on Friday and the Jews on Saturday, so why do we, as Christians observe it on Sunday? There is really no place in the bible where God commands us to worship on Sundays. In the New Testament, followers of Christ began to meet and worship on Sundays to honor the resurrection of Jesus which took place on a Sunday and is referred to in the New Testament as, “The Lord’s Day.”

Colossians 2:16-17 – “So let no one judge you in food or drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance of Christ.”

Romans 14:5-6 – “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it in the Lord.

God made the Sabbath for two reasons, for rest and for worship. God meant it to be a day that would benefit us in many ways, as it says in Mark 2:27, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

So, knowing this, how should we best utilize what God has given us in the Sabbath? The Bible says, “remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. So then how do we keep it holy? By using it the way God intended.

First we use it for rest. God set the example in creation. Now, God wasn’t tired after 6 days of creating, but we are not God and we do get tired, so He showed us by this that it was important to rest one day a week.

If you are burning the candle at both ends, so to speak, then you may not be as bright as you think. A career, a relationship or almost anything that takes time can eat you up if you let it. So why do people push themselves so hard? Maybe its more money or more recognition. Maybe it’s a sense of fulfillment or achievement, whatever. But our bodies and minds are not built that way. I found an old Indian proverb that says, “You break the bow if it’s always bent.”

Psalm 23 says that God, “makes me to lie down in green pastures.” We need rest. Some say if you need a day off it’s a sign of immaturity but I think it’s just the opposite. We act like children that don’t want to go to bed. When we mature, however, we come to appreciate those naps don’t we.

God even had Sabbath for the land. Every 7 years the Israelites were not to plant crops in their fields. God even wanted the land to be given rest.

We also need the Sabbath to recharge our batteries or recharge our emotions. Resting the body is not enough. God wants you to use the Sabbath to rest your minds as well. Include a time of quietness, “He leads me beside the still waters, he restores my soul.” In Mark 6:31 God says, “Be still and know I am God.”

One of the hardest things I had to deal with during my time in Idaho was the death of someone I truly cared for. Her name was Viola and, even well into her 80s, she was one of the hardest working people I knew. Those who knew her a little would not think of Viola as someone who ever took a rest because she was a servant to so many. In fact, on the day of her death, she had cooked a hearty breakfast for all the farmers working in her fields. When they came back for lunch, they found her on the floor. She had died. In the end, she found eternal rest in her Savior’s arms.

Yet, unbeknownst to many, I knew that she had a great respect for the kind of rest that God speaks of. Every day she would take time to worship her God through Bible study, and prayer. She would not take calls. She wouldn’t make other plans. Her rest came at those times and she knew she needed it.

I read that there are natives in south America who rest so their soul can catch up with their bodies. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt that you were running so hard all the time, speeding through life that you become drained emotionally. God has given a prescription for that and that is the Sabbath. He knew you would need a time of quietness and rest.

It’s also important to include your families because we draw strength from them. In early America, Sundays were for two things, church and family. We’ve lost that in a lot of ways in our hurry up world.

Use Sundays for family, worship together, play together, talk together, enjoy being a family on Sundays.

Also, make Sunday a time for fellowship. Part of Sunday worship is being together in the house of God with fellow believers

Hebrews 10:25 – “Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, instead let us encourage one another.” Worship on Sundays was never meant to do alone.

Finally, use the Sabbath to refocus your spirit. Sundays should be started in worship but many use this off day to do other things, they see it as a “fun” day.

They might go camping or fishing, golfing, maybe take in a movie. But, church and worship are not included. Pretty soon the kids understand that two things are important, work and play.

But worship needs to be a regular part of your everyday and especially on Sunday, the Sabbath day. When you buy a car, you get an owner’s manual. The manual has a maintenance schedule in it. If you don’t pay attention to your cars maintenance it’s going to break down sooner or later. Likewise with your faith, if you ignore it long enough, it’s no longer of any use to you because it has been left in the junkyard.

Jesus wants to be the center of your life and when He is, you have the greatest direction to live a fruitful and abundant life. Worship is important in keeping Him in that center and in keeping your life on track and working properly.

The 3rd Commandment says, “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it Holy.” How are you doing? Are you tired? Are your batteries running low? The Sabbath was made for you. This Sabbath, why don’t you choose to follow Him by resting in Him? Amen

 

Bible Study: The Third Commandment

Matthew 12:1-8

The 3rd Commandment -Remember The Sabbath Day and Keep it Holy

What is the definition of bureaucracy? Do we see evidence of this in our lesson?

Was what the disciples were doing, gleaning the fields, wrong? Deuteronomy 23:25 What made it wrong according to the Pharisees?

What does the fact that they were gleaning tell you about them?

Why didn’t Jesus, like He did with the fish and the loaves, just do another miracle and feed them now and then?

What is Jesus talking about in verse 3-4? Exodus 25:30; Leviticus 24:5-9; 1 Samuel 21 How does this story support Jesus’ argument?

How do the Priests profane the Sabbath as described in verse 5? Numbers 28:9-10; Hosea 6:6

This shows us that God first looks at the heart. How do we know this? Jeramiah 9:24; Hosea 6:4; Matthew 9:13

Does this mean that God didn’t want them to sacrifice? 1 Samuel 15:22; Isaiah 1:11-13; Jeremiah 7:21-23; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:6-8

What is Jesus speaking about in verse 6 (take note to the word something)? Do you think the Pharisees understood? Why or why not?

Where else to we hear that Jesus is greater than others? Matthew 12:41-42; John 4:12-14, 5:36, 8:53-58

How is Jesus greater than the temple?

Why is it proper to say that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath? Matthew 5:20-48; Mark 2:27

When was the Sabbath day first made holy? Genesis 2:1-3

Is it our holy day or God’s holy day? Isaiah 58:13-14; Ezekiel 20:11-12

How did Jesus treat the Sabbath Day? Mark 1:21, 6:2; Luke 4:16

How long were we to observe and obey the rules of the Sabbath? Isaiah 66: 22-23; Acts 13:42-44

Why do so many Christians either see the Sabbath as a burden or choose not to observe it?

So, what is the best way to honor the Sabbath? Exodus 20:8-11; Psalm 43:3; Matthew 5:6

What good does it do to ask God for guidance and then refuse to follow His leading? Philippians 3:12-16

What are you prepared to do to show that you honor the Sabbath?

You Shall Not Misuse the Name of the Lord

Text:  Matthew 15:1-9

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our father…

George Carlin did a comedy sketch about the 10 things you can’t say on T.V. Of course, this was a sketch filled with curse words and I don’t encourage anyone to look it up. I bring this up, not for the words that were in it but for the words that weren’t. Apparently, it’s OK to curse God on daytime T.V. anytime you please.

This morning we look at Commandment #2 found in Exodus 20:7, “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.”

If you ask most people what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain they would say that you shouldn’t use His name in profane ways. Apparently asking God to dam something isn’t included in this list for television broadcast censors. And, while this is certainly one way to take the Lord’s name in vain, God’s warning to us in the 2nd commandment goes much deeper. The word vain here means, “emptiness of speech, worthless behavior or meaningless.” To take the Lord’s name in vain is not only to use his name in a profane way, it also means taking his name on yourself by calling yourself a Christian while denying that same name through your actions and lifestyle.

From our Gospel lesson, Matthew 15: 8 and 9 says, These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”

According to Jesus here, most of those who claim to worship God and give some impressive sounding speech give off an impression of holiness but fail to honor Him because their hearts don’t match what comes out of their mouths.

We hear it when we witness people trying to reshape God, as we talked about last week, into the image of man and his desires instead of the other way around. Many take on the name of Christ but they seek to do it on their own terms with actions contrary to God’s will. They say, “I am a Christian” but their actions betray them. Everywhere we look, sometimes even in our own church, we see people who claim the name of Christ but their lives take this name, His name, in vain.

Psalm 50:6, But to the wicked, God says: “What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you.”

Anyone who cast’s God’s words aside and rejects His instruction and guidance has no right to claim His name or declare themselves to be in His family. To do so is vain and God condemns it.

It’s simple, if you treasure God’s Word, you honor His name, if you throw His Word aside, you deny Him and His name.

Psalm 139:20 says, They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.

We all know that speaking profanely of God is taking His name in vain. This includes those times that we speak about God incorrectly. This goes both ways. I think of Job. When he was at his lowest and his friends were accusing him of doing something to deserve this pain and suffering and that God would never allow such pain to a righteous man, God himself spoke to these “friends” of Job. He said in Job 42:7 to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.”

God condemned them for speaking about Him without the proper knowledge of Him. They claimed to speak on God’s behalf and even claimed that God gave them the message. It shows us that just because someone claims to speak for God, it doesn’t mean much if He speaks contrary to the will of God.

If we aren’t truthful when speaking of God then we take His name in vain. I believe there is a lot of this going on in His church today.

We hear so many church leaders speak of God’s peace, love and mercy but not so much about his requirements of obedience, holiness and repentance. We get the bread without the meat. We neglect the obligation to emphasis the prize. This misleads people into a sense that all they have to do is try to lead a good life and God will shower them with blessings.

There is a clear line between being a true disciple of Christ and a religious pretender. If you are a true disciple you yearn for God’s word and find happiness in keeping His commandments. The one who lives their life as pretender looks for self-satisfying prophesy and teaching. This brings to mind one of my favorite sections of scripture found in 2 Timothy 4:3-5, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” It’s scary how much this sounds like many Americans.

I believe He is speaking to all of us. Anyone who claims to be a Christian but lives contrary to the Word of God is guilty of taking His name in vain. If we are to honor Him it will be shown in what we do.

Ephesians 4:1 says, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

When I was the deacon of Zion Lutheran in Ashton, Idaho, on my business cards I had that the people of Zion are dedicated to living a life worthy of the calling they have received. I believe if we are to make a difference in our faith and if we truly believe what we say we believe, we will live our lives accordingly.

Your actions give testimony to where you stand in faith. In the early church, people were first called Christians because they acted like Christ. The church didn’t name themselves. Other people named them this because of their actions. While it probably wasn’t meant as a compliment at the time, it was a title the early church found honor in.

I’ve heard unbelievers say, “if that’s what it means to be Christian then I don’t want any part of it.” Today it isn’t others calling us Christians, we do that and they call us hypocrites because of our actions that often go against God’s will and desire. The world looks for our weaknesses and faults so we know that criticism will be there. There is nothing dishonorable about being spoken of negatively while sticking up for our faith.

The dishonor comes when we live a life according to the world’s wishes for us and apart from God’s desire for us. The people of the world may not follow God, but they know when others, claiming to be Christian, to easily take the same path and neglect their position in the family of Christ.

Throughout scripture we are warned that we will be hated for His name’s sake. If we are hated for being like Christ, we honor His name, but if we are known for our hypocrisy, we take His name in vain.

Matthew 5:10-13, Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Colossians 3:16-17, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Have you ever noticed that whenever we study scripture, it leads us to the Word as the focus of our relationship with God? It asks us to let the Word of God dwell in us richly and this only comes as we get to know Him through the study of His Word. Through this we have the wisdom to live our lives in Christ, the power to teach others of His saving grace and the praise in our hearts to sing out with joy for the salvation He provides. When we come to Christ, we live by a new name and our walk must be worthy of that name.

And this brings us all to worship. If we are not to take the Lord’s name in vain then we must not worship in vain. If we claim to be worshipping but are doing it more for show then growth, then we take the name of the Lord in vain. Worship, also, must be according to His Word,

John 4: 23-24, “ Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

And worship isn’t just when you come to church. You worship God by dedicating your life to Him, by living a life pleasing to Him, by being unashamed and bold in who you are as a part of His holy church.

I promise you. If the people of Redeemer do these things, the saving ministry of this church will never go away. The Lord looks for and blesses those who give honor to His name. It’s not about any one person; it’s about the whole body coming together in Christ. It’s about people setting themselves apart from the world and giving their lives to Christ as living sacrifices, in doing so we honor His name. But you have to be dedicated to the cause.

If there is one wish that I would have for the people of Redeemer, it’s that they would give honor to the name of God by how they live their lives and by how they dedicate those lives to Christ in worship. The world will be against you, the Devil will send His minions to stop you but the power of God will overcome these things.

We can either be fearful of the judgment of God or we can rest in the assurance of His grace for all who give their lives to Him. God’s Word is given to guide you to the place He has prepared for you. Study it, abide by it, live by it. In so doing, you place importance in your lives where it belongs, in the name of God. Amen

 

Bible Study: The Second Commandment

 

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God

What is God’s name? Exodus 3:14

How do we know that the name of the Lord is important?  Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 21:6, 22:2; Psalm 8:1, 111:9-10; Matthew 6:9; Acts 9:10-16; Philippians 2:9

What does it mean to take the name of the Lord in vain? Leviticus 19:12; Ecclesiastes 5:1; Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46; Titus 1:16

There is one other way to takes the Lord’s name in vain which is found in Malachi 1:6-12, what is the equivalent today?

What can happen if we don’t give the name of God the respect it deserves? Romans 1:28

So, how do we avoid it? Joshua 24:14-15; Proverbs 21:23; Ephesians 4:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; James 3:1-10, 4:7-10; 1 Peter 5:6-11

What impact would this have on your daily life?

The word “vain” in Hebrew means to use God’s name in an empty manner. What are some other ways we can do this?

Ultra-orthodox Jews will not even pronounce a name of God unless it is said in prayer or Bible study. Why do you think they see the necessity of this? Could it get into the dangerous area of worshipping a name?

What other things can “name” mean other than what you call a person?

How often have you heard someone use God or Jesus’ name as an exclamation? Why is this an improper use of His name?

Could we include exclamations such as “OMG” in this or is that going too far? How about “God bless you,” after a sneeze?

Should such casual disregard of God be ignored? If not, how do we address it?

Let’s give some examples:

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

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

Using it in worship thoughtlessly. Give an example.