From Genesis to Revelation, there are two main parts to God’s Word. I am not talking about the Old and New Testaments; no, I’m talking about two main themes that we find. Just about every passage, if not everyone, covers the idea of our relationship and interaction with God or our relationships and interactions with those around us. There are a few passages that deal with both. Today’s passage is one that does just that.
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can[c] he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
1 John 4:20-21 (NKJV)
On the play ground, when I heard something that was unbelievable, I remember saying liar liar pants on fire. It was a silly phrase that had no real meaning to me, other than to claim that someone was being untruthful. In today’s passage, I can hear God saying liar liar pants on fire. When the final chapter in our life is written, there is one of two options. Those who walked in obedience will enter into the gates of heaven, while those souls who walked in disobedience will be sent to Hell, the Lake Of Fire. Hell is described as an eternal, unquenchable fire that will not consume us but torture us. Those who are sent there will literally experience pants on fire. God doesn’t desire to send anyone to hell, but God is a righteous God. His character forces Him to be fair and just. Therefore, Hell was created to hold those who would rebel. Now that I’ve painted a picture of a place that I know none of us want to be sent to, how do we prevent ourselves from going there? Throughout scriptures God has given us things that I like to call spiritual thermometers. They allow us to evaluate where we are spiritually. As we put these spiritual thermometers into our lives, they will read hot, as in Hell, or cold, as in the coolness of Heaven. Today’s passage evaluates our spiritual health in the matter of loving or hating our neighbor. God plainly tells us that if we say we love Him and hate those around us, then we are liars liars with our pants on fire. On several occasions, Jesus instructed us through teaching His disciples about love; “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” and “Peter, do you love me? Then feed my sheep.” As we look at the first example here, we can remember the teaching of the two greatest commandments. Love God with everything you’ve got, and love your neighbor as yourself. The second example of feeding my sheep is not quite as clear. Jesus is asking Peter to feed, tend to, or take care of the sheep in love. In this case the sheep were those who followed Christ. Jesus is basically telling Peter that if he really loved Him, he would meet the needs of those he would encounter through care, compassion, and love. Today, if we examine our lives, will we find that we truly do love God or is that something we say while we hate the person next to us. In Matthew chapter 25 in verse 31, Jesus is sitting on His throne of Glory and every nation is gathered to Him. He separates them into two groups. To one group he will say, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you…”. He goes on to explain that they met His needs. Then He shifts to the other group and says “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire…” He explains that this group did not meet His needs. Both groups were astonished to hear Jesus claim that they had seen Him hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick, and in prison. Jesus explained to those listening that the way they treated their neighbor was actually the way they treated Him. Our passage is one of many that instruct us on how we are to interact with those around us. If we say that we love God and choose not to meet the needs of those around us with love, God tells us “liar liar pants on fire”. Let’s be a generation that truly loves God and shows that love to everyone, even our enemies. When we accomplish this, we will hear, “well done my true and faithful servant.” It is not always easy to love those around us, but it is what God has called us to do. Don’t be a liar liar with your pants on fire.
God, I pray that we can be a generation that shows your love to everyone. God, we so graciously receive your love in our lives and now we pray that you will grant us the strength to show that love to the world. We are so weak and our flesh is so strong to lead us into hating those who hurt us and hate us. I pray that from the born again believer to the atheist, and even to the terrorist, that we can see everyone as if they were Your Son and love them as the person you sent your Son to save. We pray for your strength and your love in our lives. In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.