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Advent 1997 -3- Be Glad and Rejoice!

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Reading: Zephaniah 3:14-20
The Lord Your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zeph. 3:17 (NIV)

I.   Sing and Shout to God

     A.  Punishment is Gone

           1.  God in His justice punished His people for rejecting Him, but now the punishment has been removed!

           2.  Our punishment has been taken away too!

           3.  Here’s something to celebrate!

     B.  The Enemy turned back

           1.  The enemy are all those allied against God’s people.

                 a.  Including Satan and his hosts.

           2.  If God is for us, who can be against us!

           3.  Here’s something to celebrate!

     C.  No Fear

           1.  Not about the fearless of ignorance or self-deception.

                 a.  These folks had experienced the worst life had to offer.

           2.  The fear goes away because of God’s promise to protect.

                 a.  Nothing can separate us from his love!

           3.  Here’s something to celebrate!

II.  God is With us

     A.  God Delights in us!

           1.  Don’t let your hands hang limp—too discouraged to do anything.

                 a.  Without a prayer left in them.

           2.  He delights=He enjoys, revels in us.

                 a.  God not only loves His people, He loves to love us!

                 b.  God with us “Emmanuel” is Jesus. It is His joy to save us!

           3.  Here’s something to celebrate!

     B.  The Quieting of His love

           1.  His love quiets

                 a.  from the noise of battle.

                 b.  From the screams of pain.

                 c.  From the terror of being alone

           2.  Might be translated: “Make us speechless with his love”

                 a.  Greater love has no one than this: that He lay down his life for his friends!

           3.  Here’s something to celebrate!

     C.  God Singing over us

           1.  Not a lullaby but a ringing cry of joy.

           2.  A song for all to hear!

                 a.  A boisterous love song that leaves no room for questions about who is being loved and who is doing the loving.

                 b.  A song that resounds in the stars as the angels join in singing “Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth!”

           3.  Here’s something to celebrate!

III. Coming Home

     A.  Free from Sorrow

           1.  God’s people had been unable to celebrate the feasts which celebrated God’s deliverance.

                 a.  God freed them to keep the feast again!

           2.  God’s people had been burdened with the responsibility to worship God, but had insufficient means.

                 a.  God calls them home so that they can again know the joy of celebrative worship!

           3.  Here’s something to celebrate!

     B.  Free from Oppression

           1.  God’s people had been subject to torture and humiliation.

                 a.  God’s people around the world today are in many places subjected to horrible torture and public humiliation.

                 b.  When part of the body suffers the whole body suffers, and so we too ache with our brothers and sisters suffereing and dying for the Name today.

                 c.  We live in this place, where Christians are humiliated, marginalized, and subjected to constant bombardment by temptation and evil itself.

           2.  God frees us and gathers us and gives us renown!

                 a.  He gathers the lame — those who have been rendered unable to walk unassisted.

                 b.  He gathers the scattered — those who have been cut off from the support of the family of God.

                 c.  He gets us together, points to us and says to the whole world: Look at these people! Aren’t they great!

           3.  Here’s something to celebrate!

     C.  Free to be Home

           1.  God’s people had been scattered.

                 a.  Banished from the promised land

                 b.  Banished from the temple home

                 c.  Banished from the Garden

           2.  God makes his home with us to brings us to His home.

                 a.  In God’s home are many rooms and Jesus is there now getting them ready for us!

                 b.  As we speak he is bringing more and more home as we turn our hearts to Him, as we learn to find our true rest in Him, as we live in His presence, as we die and go to Him.

                 c.  And we wait for his second coming when he will give us a home that cannot be over-run by those who hate God!

           3.  Here is something to celebrate!

The Bottom Line:

Celebrate! God delights in us and has set us Free and calls us to come Home to Him.

It is proper for us God’s people not only to humble ourselves in His presence, but also to praise Him for His goodness to us and celebrate His grace.

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