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Summary: One way God demonstrates his love for us is forgiveness. Despite this forgiveness, the consequence of sin remains. The consequence is real, but cannot overcome the power of God's love

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We begin with a few questions:

1. How many years did Moses live in the Promised Land?

2. When King David died, how old was his firstborn son?

3. How did first-century believers demonstrate their feelings for Paul after his conversion?

I'm having some fun at your expense this morning. The truth is, each of these people committed sins for which they were forgiven. Yet, the consequences of their sin remained.

1. Moses never set foot in the Promised Land: a consequence of his sin.

2. King David's firstborn died despite his plea for God to save him: a consequence of his sin.

3. First-century believers feared and isolated Paul—a consequence of his sin of persecuting believers.

[One way God demonstrates his love for us is forgiveness. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Despite this forgiveness, the consequence of sin remains. The consequence is real, but cannot overcome the power of God's love. OYBT Zeph. 3]

I. INTRODUCTION

1. There is a compelling simplicity in Zephaniah's message: he has one topic and never strays from it. His prophecy begins with disaster for the outside world (1:2-3) and the people of God (1:4-6).

2. The people of Judah have disregarded their covenant with God and taken up the idolatrous practices of their pagan neighbors, and God announces their punishment through his prophet.

3. It is the worst of times. Zephaniah prophesies that Judah will be conquered and the Israelites taken into captivity. They will suffer dire consequences as a result of their sin; the first two thirds of the book of Zephaniah are dreadfully hard to read.

4. Amid the consequence of sin (their pending captivity), there is a strikingly beautiful promise of forgiveness that offers a glimpse of the depth of God's love for his people. (Read Zeph. 3)

II. THE CHARGE AGAINST JERUSALEM (3:1-5)

1. A failure to conform to the word of God (3:2a-b). Though favored by revelation (God has Ishown them his character and his ways), they neither heed nor obey.

2. A failure to live in the fellowship of God (3:2c-d). Though favored by relationship (their relationship with God is unique to them), they do not respond in trust and love.

3. Four things are missing in their bond with God: attention (3:2a), submission (3:2b), reliance (3:2c), and fellowship (3:2d). Their bond with God is in jeopardy apart from these essentials.

III. JUDGMENT AND HOPE (3:6-13)

1. Nations will be destroyed because of their arrogance (6.7c)

2. God will pour out his wrath; the earth will be consumed (8c)

3. I will stand up to testify (against the people) (8a).

4. Just when all seems lost, the prophet encourages the people to wait for the LORD to complete his plan. They begin to see the promise of forgiveness and restoration beyond judgment.

A. I will purify the lips of the people (9)

B. On that day you will not be put to shame (11)

C. I will remove the proud and leave the humble who trust in me (11b,12)

D. No one will make you afraid (13)

[One way God demonstrates his love for us is forgiveness. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Despite this forgiveness, the consequence: of sin remain. The consequences are real, but cannot overcome the power of God's love.]

IV. A TIME OF JOY (14-16) Sing and shout O Israel! Be glad and rejoice!

1. The Lord has taken away your punishment; He has turned back your enemy

2. The Lord is with you. Never again will you fear any harm.

3. Do not let your hands hang limp (distraught, defeated)

V. A PICTURE OF GOD'S LOVE (17)

1. The LORD your God is with you; he is mighty to save (lit. a warrior who gives victory)

A. When we are in Christ, nothing can separate us from God's love and protection

B. Wherever you aare, whatever you do, he is always with you.

C. There is no circumstance from which he cannot deliver you.

2. He will take great delight in you.

A. God delights in your attention, submission, reliance and fellowship. It shows your love for him. Few emotions are more powerful than knowing that someone you love loves you in return.

B. Consider our delight in newborn babies; that's a good picture of the intent of this phrase.

C. He will quiet you with his love. (Nate)

D. He will rejoice over you with singing. My favorite...ever thought about God singing about you?

VI. SEEKING FORGIVENESS FROM THE ONE WHO SINGS ABOUT YOU

1. Forgiveness demonstrates God's grace. His forgiveness is absolute, complete and unmerited; we cannot buy it, it is not for sale. Christ paid for it with his blood.

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