19th Sunday After Pentecost: Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire
"Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire". Have you ever heard that phrase before? It had been years since I heard it then all of a sudden, I heard it twice this week in two different situations as I meditated on today's sermon.
Which got me to thinking what does that phrase mean? Well it turns out...nobody knows for sure. One guy, by the name of Bryce, cited a Biblical verse featuring the line “‘Thy trousers, they burn with a fire as though from Heaven.” (It turns out of course, that it is not a real Biblical verse—Bryce just made it up.)
But I have to say that my favorite phrase that I found, comes from the 1400s, in which people would call each other out using the phrase “liar, liar, lick-dish!,” the idea being—according to one proverb dictionary—that the accused will “lie as fast as a dog will lick a dish.”
As humorous as these phrases are, God takes lying very serious.
In our Epistle reading for today we read, in verse 25, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak ye the truth every man with his neighbour.”
Jesus said in John 8:44 "That the devil was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him." Here is one characteristic of Satan: there is no truth in him at all and he does not stand in the truth. Then Jesus went on to say, "Whenever Satan lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." We see that God is love and Satan is hatred; In the same way, we see that Jesus said, 'I am the truth' and devil is a liar. The devil does not stand in the truth and there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature. That is, his nature or character is to tell a lie, for he is a liar and the father of lies. All lies originate with Satan as the father.
If you tell a lie, that lie is a child born through Satan being the father and you being the mother. You have given your heart and your tongue to Satan, at that time, to produce a child called a lie. God never fathers lies. That is why it is so important to learn as Christians, to always speak the truth.
Jesus said, concerning this matter, "Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil." (Matthew 5:37) He also said, "You should not swear. Don't make an oath at all" (Matthew 5:34). You don't need to make an oath because, when a man is making an oath, he puts his hand on the Bible or swears by God or heaven or something like that. What he is really saying? 'Well most of the time I tell lies, but right now, I am speaking the truth because I am swearing.' But Jesus said, "You shouldn't be like that. You should just speak the truth the whole time, that, you don't need to swear at all." No statement made under oath should be more truthful than a statement made without oath. It should be the same. Anything beyond this is of evil.
What is the first thing God requires from us when we come to Him? It is not perfection, it is not purity, it is not goodness, it is not love, and it is none of these things. There is only one thing God requires from us when we come to Him, and that is honesty .
Paradise is not made for perfect people. It is made for honest people . It is made for people who are willing to speak the truth. The first sin mentioned in the Bible is lying. We get to read, in Genesis 3, about the first sin mentioned in the Bible, and that is not the sin Eve committed when she ate of the tree that God had forbidden. There is a sin mentioned in Genesis 3 even before that, not committed by man but by Satan. When Satan came to Eve and asked her, 'Has God said, 'You shouldn't eat of any of these trees?' And the woman said, 'Well, God has said, 'If you eat from this tree, which is in the middle of the garden, you will die." The serpent said in Genesis 3:4, 'You surely shall not die.' That was a lie.
That is the first lie and the first sin mentioned in the scriptures; you shall not die, you can disobey God but you will not be punished for it, you will not go to hell. Sin does not have a punishment. That was the lie with which Satan deceived Eve, and ever since, he has deceived the entire human race for thousands of years, even until today. There are preachers who comfort sinners in their sins. There are preachers who comfort believers in their sin, saying, 'You have accepted the Lord. You will go to heaven, no matter how much you sin.'
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 8:11, "Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men are fully given to do evil." It is because God does not punish immediately, people keep on living in sin. Therefore the devil says, 'You're not going to be punished. Look at all these other people around you. Look at these sins they commit. Look at the believers who do so many wrong things and they get away with it.' They haven't got away with it. God's punishment, His judgment has not yet come. That is all. So there is a lie with which Satan is fooling people all over: you can sin and you will not suffer. The Bible says that, "If you live according to the flesh, you will surely die" ( Romans 8:13 ). But Satan says, 'No, you will not die. God is merciful. God is gracious. You have asked Jesus to come into your life. So, even if you live according to flesh, you will not die.' That is a deception. If you live according to the flesh you will die. There is no doubt about it at all. If Satan is a liar, he seeks to transmit that nature to his children. And it is very easy for a believer to be infected with that too. Whenever you tell a lie, you are offering yourself to Satan to father one more child.
The last sin mentioned in the Bible is in Revelation 22:15. There it says about those who will be outside the city of God in the final day: "Everyone who loves and practices a lie will be outside the kingdom." Have you ever noticed this before, that, the first sin and the last sin mentioned in the Bible is telling a lie? Lying is a very serious thing. Lying to God, lying to people and every lie is fathered by Satan. Peter said to Ananias, "Why have you lied to the Holy Spirit?" That is why he was killed.
The first sin judged in the early church was lying. It is extremely serious. And that is why, as parents, one of the most important things we must teach our children is to stop telling lies. Our children are born with our nature. They tell lies from birth. Unless we show them how serious it is, unless they can see it in our lives they won't learn. They need to see, as parents, we take speaking the truth very seriously, that, if we say something we will do it. If we promised to do something for our children, we need to keep our word or explain to them if some other circumstances came up that prevented us from doing it.
Telling the truth is a quality, a virtue. We have to battle whole-heartedly, if we want to acquire it. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth. If you want to be truthful, you have to ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and to mortify this lying habit in all your speech. If we do that, we will find that God gives us discernment on the lies which Satan seeks to deceive us with.