Zephaniah 3:14 – 17
God rejoices over you.
We do a lot of responding to God. Sermons are about responding to God. Worship is about responding to God. This is all ok. Let’s look at the other side now, God responds to us!
I. What God has done [v 15].
A. Punishment Removed
1. God’s salvation in Jesus is a “full, perfect, and sufficient” pardon.
a. This pardon is granted by God’s grace, not our merit.
b. “While we were still sinner, Christ died for us.” [Romans 5:8b]
2. This means a change in status.
a. We move away from the world and toward God through the cross.
b. We move from being an “enemy” of God to being an “heir” of God.
B. Enemies Removed.
1. Sin is the “killer virus.”
a. As a predator sin goes after and victimizes the weak.
b. As a predator sin stalks us, knowing our weaknesses, and patiently waits for the right time and opportunity.
2. Jesus broke the bondage.
a. “(Jesus) gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age.” [Galatians 1:4a]
b. “So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” [Galatians 4:7]
C. Presence Returned.
1. God gives us His everlasting presence... (already, not yet)
a. “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit...” [Acts 2:4a]
b. Lyrics from “Constantly Abiding”
There’s a peace in my heart
that the world never gave
a peace it can not take away....
Constantly abiding, Jesus is mine.
Constantly abiding, rapture divine.
He never leaves me lonely,
whispers oh, so kind.
I will never leave thee,
Jesus is mine!
2. The older order has (and will) pass away.
a. Read Revelation 21:1 – 4.
b. Notice that death, mourning, crying, and pain will not exist in the presence of God.
D. Peace Returned.
1. There is no more fear.
a. We tend to fear a lot of things:
1.) Relationships breaking or failing... so we do not trust and we build walls.
2.) The political year fears.
3.) The possible dark things that can happen to our children.
b. Problem: what we fear controls us.
2. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” [John 14:27]
II. God rejoices over you [v 17].
A. “He is mighty to save.”
1. Literally “the Mighty One/Warrior who saves.”
a. God is not a sissy. (As He is commonly painted.)
b. God is THE Almighty!
2. There is a joy God has in providing salvation.
a. God likes to do the impossible so there is no mistake who did it and who gets the glory.
b. Basic philosophy of a warrior is to be better every day... God’s heart is to offer salvation to more and more every day.
B. “He will take GREAT DELIGHT in you.”
1. “For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.” [Psalm 149:4]
a. Do not spiritualize the idea of rejoicing/delight.
1.) We think we have a theological or theoretical obligation.
2.) We then think God is barely able to tolerate us because of or natural tendency to waywardness...
b. Fact: “at every point we doubt ourselves, we really doubt our Lord.” (Mike Mason)
1.) Why? We project our inadequate images of ourselves onto God.
2.) We end up creating God in our own (or some corporate/business) image.
2. Most contemporary/modern stuff is people oriented.
1. Yes, we do need to respond to God (or at least what we know of God.).
2. However, we need to take some time to listen to God.
C. “He will quiet you with His love.”
1. Image of God’s people needing quieting...
a. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.” [Psalm 23:2 – 3]
b. It is hard for us to admit we are fussy like a needy baby.
1.) Babies fuss when they are hungry, uncomfortable, lonely, hurt, feel sick, or have a messy diaper.
2.) We fuss when we neglect the spiritual food of Gods Word (hungry), are not content (uncomfortable), need someone to value us (lonely), hurt from the natural course of life, sick in dealing with outside pressures and influences, and sin (messy diapers).
2. How does a parent/grandparent quiet the fussy child?
a. Personal contact, not just dealing with the need.
b. Humans are designed to be in personal contact with God.
D. “He will rejoice over you with singing.”
1. Can you hear the music?
a. Not necessarily music as we think of it.
b. Still, the distinct voice of God....
1.) Not necessarily spectacular, giving direction, or correction.
2.) Communicating the distinct presence of God.
2. Have you heard God rejoicing over you?
a. Tender and strong.
b. Unmistakably perfect.
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