Many people say "God is Love," and they are correct...to a degree. When it comes down to it, what this means is beyond anything you or I can comprehend, but we tend to define it based on our own idea of what Love is or is not. Based on this, we miss the point completely. Today and tomorrow, I want to explore this idea of "God is Love," first by exploring what Love is not, and then by examining what it is. First of all, Love is not accepting of everything. In a marriage relationship, ideally, a spouse would not tolerate cheating from their mate. It's an exclusive partnership! A Husband or wife SHOULD expect loyalty from their spouse. In a much deeper sense, God is a jealous God, and will not share your affections with anything or anyone else. He does not want to be the first of many, but the one and only (see these verses)! Secondly, love does not look the other way at bad behaviors. A parent, ideally, would not tolerate self-destructive behaviors of their children, saying "it's okay little one, mommy will clean up the mess. Shooting the neighbor's dog is a no-no, but we won't tell!" A parent SHOULD expect right behavior from their child, and correct bad behaviors before they become harmful to others or self-destructive. In the same way God disciplines the ones He loves. The author of Hebrews puts it this way: " For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it "(Heb 12:11). Sometimes love seems harsh, but it always has the object of that love's welfare in mind. Remember, when God loves us, He disciplines and corrects us, as well as removes things from our lives that are harmful. This, too, is love, though at the time it may not feel like it. Proverbs 3:11-12 tells us " My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." Don't resent God's discipline. He's a loving Father who seeks what is best for His children.
Revelation 3 English Standard Version (ESV)
To the Church in Sardis
3 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
To the Church in Philadelphia
7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
8 “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
To the Church in Laodicea
14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.
15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”