Summary: Advent 3(C) -- God’s people have great reasons to sing and rejoice: Our King conquers all our enemies, our Shepherd quiets us with his love, and our Savior causes us to be glad and rejoice!
SING, O PEOPLE OF GOD (Outline)
December 14, 2008 --
ADVENT 3 --
INTRO: Our fast four weeks of Advent have been cut in half. There are only two weeks, actually less than two weeks, before the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I pray that you are still filled with joy that Christ brings. Remaining joyful can be a challenge in this rush, rush, and hectic season. Today’s text reminds and encourages us to be joyful and rejoice. The prophet Zephaniah tells us the reasons to rejoice. We are filled with joy because the Lord our God is the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. "Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I will sing to the LORD, I will sing; I will make music to the LORD, the God of Israel" (JUDGES 5:3). Our joy is to spring forth for the benefit of those in darkness in the world around us.
SING, O PEOPLE OF GOD!
I. Our King conquers all our enemies.
II. Our Shepherd quiets us with love.
III. Our Savior causes us to rejoice and be glad.
I. OUR KING CONQUERS ALL OUR ENEMIES
A. God sent the prophet Zephaniah to warn God’s people about his coming judgment for disobedience.
1. As always, in the midst of warning of judgment comes comfort from God’s gospel.
2. Though the people depended on themselves for so long God still promised his help.
3. Verse 15a. The Lord would remove their punishment = forgiveness. Enemies are defeated.
B. Verse 15b. The Lord is called the King of Israel. The people knew that kings had absolute authority.
1. Here is the only place that King of Israel is used in the Old Testament to refer to and mean the Lord.
2. The people now understood the great power of the Lord, the King of Israel, to help them.
C. The Lord Almighty is still our King of kings today. Many in this world like to think that they are in control. People all too often put way too much trust and confidence in themselves or other so-called ex-perts in this life. The world and its’ experts cannot and do not always give the real answers that man’s soul truly needs. Whenever everything seems to be going completely wrong our King is still in control.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world"(JOHN 16:23). In this life we will have trouble. But our troubles ought not to overwhelm us. Our King has overcome all our troubles and conquered all our enemies.
D. A king was to provide for his people with whatever they needed. Our King is no different. Any earthly leader is flawed and is guaranteed to make mistakes. Many leaders today seem more concerned about themselves rather than the people they are to serve. One leader after another predicts crisis and doom and gloom. But our King conquers our fears with his perfect care and concern for each one of us.
"For I am convinced that…neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord "(ROMANS 8:39). Through Christ we are joined to the King. Nothing can separate us from the divine union of King and follower.
SING, O PEOPLE OF GOD!
Our King conquers all of our enemies.
Our Shepherd quiets us with love.
II. OUR SHEPHERD QUIETS US WITH HIS LOVE
A. Israel would no longer fear because the Lord Almighty was their King. He had absolute power.
1. Verse 16. “Hands hang limp” means that the Lord did not want his people to despair.
2. It also means that the Lord did not want his people to be frozen with fear.
B. Zephaniah explains why in verse 17a. The Lord is the mighty, conquering warrior.
1. Note the change in verse 17b. The Lord “delights, quiets, and rejoices” over his people.
2. These are not warrior words. These are words of a caring, loving and providing shepherd.
C. The days are growing more and more wicked. The Lord reminds us that the love of most will grow cold. People truly have become lovers of themselves rather than loving their brothers as themselves. Human love is tainted with sin and thus imperfect. All too often human love runs hot and cold. Thankfully the Lord Almighty, our Shepherd reveals his perfect love for us. "The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness’" (JEREMIAH 31:3). In love, with love, and by love the Lord draws us close to himself. Sing, rejoice.