Monday, May 30, 2011

The Name of the Lord, Part II of II

The Name of the Lord, Part II of II
May 30, 2011
Exodus 20:7 "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."

There is far more to the misuse of the Lord's name than just using it in a profane manner. Sure, it is extremely inappropriate to say, "Oh my God" or to use His name to damn "it" to Hell, as the common expression might suggest. But there are more grave ways in which we misuse the name of the Lord, and this is done by people who would call themselves a Christian. In the Bible, the Israelites were extremely familiar with people we might consider to be a prophet. Prophets were men or women of the Lord who would declare the Lord's words to the public. Their words were quite often inspired of the Lord, many of which have been written down. We have many books of the Bible containing the words of some of the Prophets. Those books include Daniel, Jeremiah, Hosea, Ezekiel, Jonah....just to name a few. When a prophet would speak, some people listened while others mocked what they had to say. It could have been difficult to tell which prophets were actually from the Lord, although over time the true prophets were confirmed when their prophecies came true. But another fact stands out: those true prophets had permission from the Lord to speak on His behalf, to use His name. They were not misusing the Lord's name when it was coupled with their spoken message.

Many times, however, men or women, who were NOT from the Lord or directed of the Lord to speak, would declare a message during Biblical times. They were considered false prophets or false teachers. Those people would stand up and declare their words were from the Lord, though they did not actually have permission to use the Lord's name and couple it with their specific message. You and I might not dare stand up and declare our words were from the Lord, but the Lord has given His permission to do so on certain occasions.

The first occasion was when the Lord appeared to Moses and told him to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free. The Lord told Moses to tell everyone that the great "I AM" had sent him, and that he was to speak on the Lord's behalf. You remember the story. Pharaoh didn't recognize this god, the Lord, the great I AM. Pharaoh mocked Moses, even though Moses had been given permission to use the Lord's name and declare the Lord's words.

Moses declared the truth, as the Lord truly had given him permission to use His name coupled with His message. Sadly, there are countless times false prophets have risen up over the years, declaring their message was from the Lord. In some of those instances, men have declared they heard from the Lord that the end of the world was coming. This just happened recently, as I'm sure most of you are aware, someone telling the world the Lord was coming back on such-and-such a date. Obviously it did not happen, since we are all still here. This was a sad and blatant misuse of the Lord's name. Though this isolated incident of declaring the Lord's return does not happen often, the Lord's name is still misused on a regular basis. In fact, the Lord's name is misused, sadly, almost every Sunday, in our churches. It happens right from the pulpit.

The Lord's name is misused by many men and women who consider themselves to be pastors or preachers. Every time someone preaches or teaches from the Bible, he is doing so in the name of the Lord. The Bible is the inspired Word of the Lord, and when we read it out loud, we are declaring the Lord's words. When we use Bible passages to teach a lesson, we are then further declaring the Lord's words coupled with our own. This is so common that we seldom think anything of it. But every Bible lesson given or sermon taught can become our own explanation and interpretation of the Lord's original words. If we add anything to it, we are doing so in the name of the Lord. If we choose to use the Bible to teach the Bible, then we are obligated to make SURE we get it right, lest we misuse the words and consequently, the name of the Lord. This is how false doctrine is spread, when men of the Lord preach a message out of the Bible but skew the words slightly to further their own ideas or agenda. The Bible IS what the Bible IS, and the Bible Says what the Bible Says. Any use of it from the pulpit on Sunday is doing so in the name of the Lord and it better be right. There are many parishioners who believe the person from the pulpit is speaking directly from the Lord at all times, in the name of the Lord.

I have heard many sermons, even in the churches I have attended over the years, where the message preached was taken out of context, skewing what the Scripture was actually communicating. This was done by someone we would all consider a to be a preacher, a man who was speaking in the name of the Lord. Whether he intended it or not, this sermon was then a misuse of the Lord's name, and the Lord will not hold this man guiltless. There are many sermons broadcast over the airwaves into our homes, sermons where a person is preaching a message that does not quite line up with the Bible. We should all consider this person to be a false teacher and never listen to his words again. I urge you, Christian, to double check everything you hear with your own copy of the Bible, as many words are being spoken in the name of the Lord but still might be wrong. Don't take my word for it; look it up.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Ex 3:14-15, Ex 34:1-17, Ezekiel 22:28, Jer 14:4, Jer 23, Matt 10:24-25, James 3:1-2

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