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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Large Catechism – part 67

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From the Word: Then they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name. (Acts 5:41)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

If asked, “How do you understand the Second Commandment?” or, “What is meant by taking in vain, or misusing God’s name?” answer briefly in this way. We misuse God’s name when we call upon the Lord God in any way, for purposes of falsehood or wrong of any sort.” So, this commandment charges that God’s name must not be appealed to falsely, or taken upon the lips, while the heart knows, or should know, better or differently—like those who take oaths in court but one side lies against the other. For God’s name cannot be more gravely misused than for the intentions of falsehood and deceit. Let this remain as the plainest and simplest meaning of this commandment.

Pulling It Together: If the apostles had promised to teach no longer about Jesus, but did so anyway, they would have taken the Lord’s name in vain. They would have lied in the name of God. If we remain true to God, we will speak truth in his name. Speaking the truth may mean we have to suffer. The apostles considered this kind of suffering a great privilege. Speaking the truth, especially confessing Christ Jesus, may bring dishonor from the world, but God’s grace and peace are greater.

Prayer: Give me a boldness to be a witness to the truth, to the name of God. Amen.

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Where Two or Three Are Gathered is a guide for what Luther referred to as "mutual conversation and consolation" among believers. These are the times we come together one to one, as people of faith, to talk about our lives and struggles, and strengthen one another in prayer with the promise of God's grace and mercy. This devotional conversation guide may be used for a number of purposes and applications where people are looking for some help in structuring conversations on the practical and spiritual dimensions of Christian discipleship.


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