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Evangelism and “not taking God’s Name in Vain”

Discussion/Devotional thought of the Day.

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 vainExodus 20:7 (ESV) 

When the above commandment is mentioned, most people think of someone who hit his hand with a hammer, or gets cut off in traffic, and with a exclamation utters the name by which all are saved, Jesus Christ.  Or perhaps they use God’s name to condemn (damn) something.  That is what pastors call a “sin of commission”.  We actually violated the command by doing exactly what it says we shouldn’t.  To misuse God’s name, to blaspheme, to denigrate the name of the Lord who died on the cross because He loves us.

But we don’t talk about sin only as sins of commission, but sins of omission as well.  That is – we take GOd’s name in vain, not only when use it to curse or swear or to impress or intimidate others, but also when we fail to use it when we should.  Luther spoke of it this way:

We must fear and love God, so that we will not use His name to curse, swear, cast a spell, lie or deceive, but will use it to call upon Him, pray to Him, praise Him and thank Him in all times of trouble.

I was thinking the other day, regarding the proper use of the Lord’s name, and verses came to mind about the Lord and His name and the people that bear His name, or will be given it.  Then one in particular came to mind…

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.Matthew 28:18-19 (NLT) 

If we are to use God’s name rightly, in marking people as His, in making disciples who bear His name, then indeed, when we fail to be about that, or disdain the sharing of the word of God, and the work of the Holy Spirit in using God’s word to bring people to life in Christ, then we have another place where we have failed to use His name, indeed, in lacking we have used it vainly.  For His word will not return void, it will not return in vain.  It is His to be used as we praise Him for His wonderful work in our midst, to pray and give Him the very burdens that distract us.

So use His word, use His name as we ought, loving people enough to share with them the very words of life, and see them marked in the name about all names, as God cleanses them.



The Simplicity of Sharing God’s Love…

Devotional Thought of the day….

28:16 The eleven disciples went to the hill in Galilee where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him, even though some of them doubted. 18 Jesus drew near and said to them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20 and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20 (TEV) 

“The moment you have anyone—whoever he may be—at your side, find a way, without doing anything strange, to pass on to him the joy you experience in being a son of God and living as such.”  (1)

There are many things to think through, in the scene mentioned above, as having broken the power of death and shame, Jesus gives the disciples some last directions about the ministry He is sharing with them.

It is interesting to me that even in His presence, some doubted, for that gives me hope, when I struggle with this great work we have – and indeed, considering the last verse we have the answer.  We are never far from our Triune God and His glory – even here in this “life”.

I love parts of the TEV translation here – especially when it uses “people” rather than nations. Nations distance the project, they make it seem larger than possible – to go into ALL the WORD and make disciples of ALL NATIONS.  If we consider the task with those words, it is easy to become disappointed, disillusion – 7 billion people?  But if we see that passage refering to going everywhere – and making disciples of people, the task becomes a matter of life, a matter of our vocation, not some task, but really, that which is part of every role, every vocation, everything we do in life.

That is why I love the simplicity of how a catholic priest named Josemarie Escriva (now canonized as a saint by the RCC) describes this work we call evangelism.  Find a way, without doing anything strange to pass on the joy!  What joy? Pass on the joy of being a son of God, and living as such!

There is a magnificent joy in realizing we have been freed to be God’s children, to live life with that kind of exuberance, with that kind of energy.  To realize the burdens God has lifted from us, the anxiety we’ve been from – for a purpose – to walk with God. Think of that for a few moments as you eat your lunch today.  And then, look around you, see those God has brought into your life – who live or work or are enjoying a game or eating, those people side by side.  Simply share with them your joy, help them to see it is theirs as well.

For that is why we have been sent into the world, to reflect His love, His mercy, His light.

Lord, as we cry Lord have mercy, may we cry for those around us, and as we receive that mercy, may we share that with them as well.




(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 701-703). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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