Lord's Day 26

Week 25 :: Week 26 :: Week 27


In our last study we considered how the third commandment teaches not taking the Lord’s name in vain means living in a way that demonstrates the glory, or importance, of God’s name. This week the catechism reinforces this idea of honoring God’s name by forbidding the abuse of anything whereby God reveals Himself. 

John Flavel’s Exposition of the Catechism states that this prohibition “forbids and condemns all heedless, wandering, and drowsy performance of God’s worship.” After reading his study on the catechism, I was left wondering, “Does our worship truly honor God, or does it come about as a “heedless, wandering, and drowsy performance”? Considering the fact that those who profane God’s name will not “escape his righteous judgment,” it’s a rather tremendous burden to plan, lead, and prepare for worship. 

The church is at a crossroads as it tries to understand how to get worship right. The endless question is always, how do we maintain the biblical traditions of worship while staying relevant and connected to the world? What music do we sing; how do we present the message of scripture; do we wear robes, ties, flip-flops? How do we form a relevant, warm, and inviting form of worship without “cheapening the gospel?” 

The third commandment reminds us that all that we do should be to the glory and honor of God. The condemnation of false worship by Jesus and the OT prophets was that the people honored God with their lips, while their heart was far from God. Psalm 29:2 says, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” The matter of integrity in worship comes down to the heart of the one in worshiping, and the desire to worship God well. It means we should come to worship well prepared, in our hearts and minds, to enter into the very presence of God, for the praise of His glorious name.


Almighty God, we confess that we continually struggle to get things right. May our worship be truly pleasing before you, and we pray that you might teach us to worship you in spirit and in truth. 

Question 55

Q. 55. What is forbidden in the third commandment?

A. The third commandment forbiddeth all profaning or abusing of anything whereby God maketh himself known.

Scripture Proofs

Mal 1:6-7;

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised.

Mal 2:2;

If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart.

Mal. 3:14.

You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts?

Question 56

Q. 56. What is the reason annexed to the third commandment?

A. The reason annexed to the third commandment is, that however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment.

Scripture Proofs

1 Sam. 2:12;

Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord.

1 Sam. 2:17;

Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.

1 Sam. 2:22;

Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

1 Sam. 2:29;

Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’

1 Sam. 3:13;

And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them.

Deut. 28:58-59.

“If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the Lord your God, then the Lord will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting.