“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.” With these words, the Preacher began his sermon. “As most of you are probably assuming that the Bible means using it as a word interwoven with cursing, I will tell you that using it in any profane manner will hold you guilty before God. The word vain means, in this case, in an irreverent or disrespectful manner, and the word profane means marked by contempt or irreverence for what is sacred. Both words are synonymous with each other but used together allows us to broaden the term. This would include not only words but actions as well which is why the Lord Jesus had said that you shall know a tree by its fruit, in other words, by the actions, you will know the man.
If we call ourselves Christians and yet live as the world lives and act as the world acts, has the salt not lost its flavor? It becomes useless and therefore will be cast aside and such will be the fate of those who profane the Christian calling by vain and profane lifestyles!” He paused as he looked out upon the congregation which had increased somewhat in size since the last week. There were younger couples with small children and also a few older ones and to his joy, he saw that there were two men from the sawmill with their wives and so continuing, he said, ” How are we to be witnesses to our faith in regards to a changed life when no fruits are produced or when we make the claim that the Lord has set us free when we are still bound in chains of sin? Are we not profaning the very God we say that we love? Or has His warning fallen on hardened hearts that continue walking in sin and deceiving only themselves by practicing rebellion? My dear brethren, this should not be the case! He is clearly warning us that we will be held guilty if we live this way!
When we make a public demonstration of our faith by coming here today and then go home and act in a manner unworthy of the Christian calling, are we not being double-minded and unstable in our confession of the faith we profess? If we go to work and talk and jest in a coarse manner, are we not condemning ourselves before the eyes of the world as hypocrites? If we have wives or husbands and yet act as though we had none, are we not acting as harlots? And I speak to both. I understand the temptations and struggles to maintain the faith of a Christian for I myself have stumbled often enough in the past so as not to presume to be a judge, lest I condemn myself! But we have been called to press forward and not to cling to the past, seeking and receiving forgiveness when the heart cries out for the release of sins that weigh it down! And once relieved of the burdens, the heart rejoices with new found joy and strength and is thus able to extend the hand to help another who may be caught in the cords of sin, unable to break free because of a weakened nature having been seduced.”
The Preacher paused to take a sip of water from the glass under the pulpit before continuing. “We see the mighty hand of God in our lives as we stumble and fall only to be forgiven when asked with a repentant heart, but unfortunately for many, it has become routine or better said, a game of Russian Roulette with evil habits. We never entirely extinguish the flames because we are so used to them and we begin to assume that God will automatically forgive us without asking and that, my dear brethren, is a terrible mistake that will rob us of our salvation in Christ! That kind of thinking is profane and will lead to the loss of your souls if you continue in this manner!
Do not be deceived, God will not allow Himself to be mocked by you or me and what a man sows, that is what he will reap. The flesh to corruption and the fruits of the Spirit to life. When we choose to walk in the Spirit of Holiness, then the fruits of that Godly living will show themselves in our lives such as peace, kindness, gentleness, grace and other acts that spring from faith. However, when we choose to remain carnal, that is to do according to the flesh or as the world does, then we can expect to hear vulgar words and acts of profane living and violent unruly behavior that doesn’t line up with what we profess to be in Christ!”
As the Preacher looked upon the congregation, he could easily see that more were becoming unsettled as they moved about on the pews, and more than one face was darkened with an anger that stems from convictions that wouldn’t be accepted! The people, however, needed to understand that the call of a Christian was to separate oneself from the corruption of the world while yet living in the world and that could only be accomplished through the spirit of the Living God and faith in the Christ and the practicing of good works.
And so continuing, he said, “Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts against Him and His Word, both written and living. If you are living as double-minded hypocrites then you need to stop and repent and turn to God and ask for forgiveness through faith in the Christ and remain steadfast without wavering! Because not only you can see what you are doing, but also your families, friends, and co-workers are also witnesses to your ongoing hypocrisy and the Father in heaven will not hold you guiltless for your trespasses against Him! Has the Christ died for nothing that you would hold up His blood in such a coarse manner for all the world to see, subjecting the sacrifice of the Lamb of God to be trampled upon by you and your unrepentant ways? If you want to be serious about being a follower of the Messiah, that is Jesus, the Son of God, then do so in a manner worthy of being called a Christian and not as a hypocrite!”
And with many such words of encouragement and pleas to live Godly lives and issuing warnings to turn aside from vain and profane living, the Preacher continued to exhort the congregation to righteous living. It would, of course, be greeted by some with self-righteous anger while others would fall to their knees in repentant prayer, but the Preacher knew that God had already chosen those who would love Him and become followers of His Son and who had chosen to reject Him. It was not up to the Preacher to say, but only to obey and speak the truth to a people who had lived long enough under the theological darkness that had hindered the light from shining in their hearts. The work would go on despite the vehement resistance of those opposed to the words of God as delivered in the Bible.