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A Picture of God

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Zephaniah 3:17 A PICTURE OF GOD (brief outline-message)

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"The Lord your God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy: he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."

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John Newton worked with his father on a ship that took boat loads of slaves from Africa to England, the Islands of the Caribbean area, etc.  Once a storm exploded in the Atlantic Ocean on top of  John Newton and the ship and he thought the ship would sink and that everyone would drown.  He cried out to God at that time to save him and he would quit the slave business and get his life straightened out.  God saved John Newton and he later wrote the gospel song “Amazing Grace.”  God’s grace continues to amaze people all over the world.

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………About 650 years before Christ, the prophet Zephaniah wrote a few words about God who has control of everything.  Amazingly, God sings over His people.  Pay attention to the words of this prophet who describes God in just a few words, and we’ll learn something about God that we have probably never heard before.  And this “big secret” is that God loves to sing over us. Listen and you may hear God doing a solo just for you!   Here is a soul-inspiring discovery about God.    If we want to know what God is like, then let’s learn what the text tells us about Him…

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I. GOD IS PERSONAL. Zephaniah wrote, "The Lord your God." That is, we belong to God and God is our personal God. Pagan religions in the time of the Bible had all kinds of "gods," but none were personal. Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal, telling them to cry louder that their god might be taking a trip or might be asleep…Our God never sleeps and He is personal.

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One song states, "And He walks with ‘me’ and He talks with me, and tells me I am His own." David wrote in Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd." That word "my" is a personal pronoun. It talks about us and our personal God. Jesus taught us to pray "Our Father. " Yes, God is personal. Three truths that indicates that God is personal.

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One, God is our Personal  Creator (Genesis 1:26-27). Two, God is our Personal  Redeemer through Christ (Job 19:25; Psalm 19:19; Revelation 5:9). Three, God is our Personal Sovereign and Sustainer: (Colossians 1:16-17; Micah 5:2; Isaiah 42:5-6; 43:1-3; Acts 2:36; 4:12) .

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II. GOD IS PRESENT. Zephaniah wrote, "In the midst of thee." That is, God is with us. Jesus said that He would be with us always, even to the end of the ages.

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As a little boy came from church one Sunday, he passed a man who asked, "Johnny, what did you hear in church today?" He said, "I heard about God." The man said, "Tell me where God is and I will give you $5.00. The boy said, "Tell me where God ain’t and I’ll give you $10.00"

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God is with us in worship. 2 Chronicles 7 tells about the dedication of the temple during the time of Solomon. God’s presence filled the place. The folks who picked up the offering couldn’t do that because of the glory of God’s presence. God is with us in worship in singing, announcements, praying, and preaching. Jesus said where even a small group of two or three are gathered together in His name that He is there.

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God is with us in our work. When ladies cook meals, clean the house and men do all kinds of work, God is there. David Livingstone did medical mission work in Africa for 33 years because he knew the words of Jesus who said, "I will never leave you or forsake you" (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5).

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God is with us when we have problems….And problems do come. He was with Zephaniah when the Babylonians came against the people. He was with Daniel in the lions’ den and the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace. God is with us today in all our circumstances.

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III. GOD IS POWERFUL. "God is mighty. The text really says, God is all-powerful. What can He do?

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God can purify His people. Zephaniah 3: 9, 13 says God will give a "pure tongue." That means God can clean up and change a life. He is all-powerful. Mark 5 shows what Jesus does.

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God can protect His people. Zephaniah 3:15 says, "God will ‘throw out’ our enemies. The devil, the world, the flesh…All enemies can be laid low by God’s power. See the story of Sennacherib’s defeat in 2 Kings 19:35. Can God protect us today? Yes!

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IV GOD IS THE LORD OF PLEASURE. "He will rejoice over you with singing." God wants us to be joyful. God is doing a "solo" over us. Listen and hear God singing to you!

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God takes pleasure as we serve Him. Zeph. 3:16 says for "hands not to be slack." We get busy for God and He has pleasure in us. Just what can we do for God? Show others what God is doing through you today - - prayer ministry, visiting, witnessing, Bible study, etc.!

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God takes pleasure as we surrender life to Him. God wanted Israel to come back and do His will. The last verse of this chapter says God will then exalt His people and make us great for His glory. Psalm 36:8 states that God invites us to "drink from the river of His pleasures." And God has a Spiritual River that never runs dry! Why not let the God of grace and glory fill your life with His presence right now? Ask Him to do it! A-men and a-men.  

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