The third commandment is most often translated: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. More modern translations have recognized the larger meaning—it’s not just a matter of speech—and now use “misuse.”
The Hebrew is more literally translated: “Do not carry the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”
With that in mind, I have opted to consider putting this in the positive for my sermon meme.
How do you carry the Name of God?
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:3-4)
This afternoon my grandson stopped by the office for a few minutes. There was about a twenty minute lag between when his mom needed to drop him off and his grandpa (my hub) got off work. We played a few points of air hockey and then went to my office where I was working on the sermon.
He asked what I was doing and when I told him his eyes lit up and he begged to help. Since I have taken this interim position, he has developed a new outlook on church. On Sunday he told his Sunday School teacher his favorite part of church was the preaching. (Go ahead, picture me grinning quite hugely.)
This afternoon, I told him I would love his help. I showed him the text (see above) and asked him to look at it and tell me what he thought the most important parts were. Let’s see if they match up with what you think stands out.
First he pointed out how cool it is that God has given us everything we need to follow him. Next he liked the part that God chose us. And finally, he felt it was pretty amazing that we get to share in the God’s nature…and we need to be sharing that.
Seems to me that preaches pretty well. Not bad for a nine year old.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
It seems so obvious. We wouldn’t argue the point if we were discussing grapes, or squash, or pumpkins. The only way to produce fruit is for the branch to be connected to the vine.
In this section of the gospel (John 15), Jesus identifies himself as the true vine–the genuine item, the real deal. He would only make that point if there were false, fake, or dead vines people were trying to attach themselves to.
The way to know who or what we’re attached to is to examine the fruit. Good fruit comes from abiding in the true vine.
So, how’s your fruit?
If we are going to produce fruit for the Kingdom, fruit that brings glory to God, then we need to be a people of the vine.
(On Wednesdays my blog posts will be related to the text of the upcoming Sunday message.)
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6, NLT)
We just finished walking together through Lent to the Resurrection. The intention of these devotional thoughts was to get us ready to see Jesus!
How’d you do?
Each time I reach the resurrection story I am moved when I try to imagine Jesus speaking Mary’s name. I listen hard to hear him whisper my name.
But that’s not the end of the story! More work needs to be done. We have our part. God is not finished with us!
Sunday morning I will preach my first official sermon as the interim pastor of Ashland First Church of the Brethren. It is not my first time in the pulpit with these precious people. I’ve been filling in for a while.
On Sunday we embark on a different phase. We are focusing on where God wants us to go, who God wants us to be…and how we’re going to get there.
I love our verse from Philippians. For a long time I took it personally…individually. But it’s plural. Like: He began a work in y’all. And He wants to finish it.
What work has God begun in you? In your family? In your faith community–your church?
Will you join him in the work? Will you let him finish?
You hold a piece to the whole that only you can fill.