An exposition of Zephaniah 2:4-3:8. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, May 2, 2010.
It is not a popular message. In fact in many quarters it is laughingly dismissed as the ravings of “simple-minded Bible thumpers.” Most think the only place it can be heard is in a metropolitan downtown spoken by some wild-eyed street preacher with a big sign announcing the end of the world. But it is standard fare in the Word of God. This world is going somewhere. It is moving toward an end. When that time comes there will be an accounting. Individuals no longer believe that. Skeptics laugh at it. Nations don’t even give it a thought yet, according to the Scripture, the Day of the LORD is at hand and the call is for repentance before it is too late. His name was Zephaniah and while his message may have played a part in a minor revival during the time of king Josiah it was, for the most part, ignored by the masses. The message of that 7th century prophet is just as relevant today as then. In a world where unrighteousness is celebrated and lawlessness abounds we would do well to remember our God is the righteous ruler of all the earth and all nations will one day answer to Him. Our text this evening is found in chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Zephaniah.
Text: Zephaniah 2:4-3:8
I realize that what I just said is politically incorrect.
More than that it sounds awfully arrogant.
Many in our pluralistic world cry, “Foul!” when such dogmatic statements are made.
How arrogant to think that your religion is superior.
How foolish to think that your God is the only true God.
But if I accept this book as the Word of God, I have no choice but to think those thoughts.
This book reveals that there is a God who created everything. And He created it out of nothing. He spoke and the world came into existence. That God had a relationship with man (who was created in His own image and likeness). When man sinned and thus broke relationship – God came seeking him. God restored the relationship. God made forgiveness possible. That God called out a man name Abram and from him built a nation uniquely His own. Through that people God revealed himself. Giving them His law to guide and instruct them and the tabernacle that He might dwell with them. That God is intimately involved in His creation. Nations rise and fall according to His desire. His purpose cannot fail. His kingdom will prevail. Both men and nations are accountable to Him. That is the message of this book and that is the message of Zephaniah His prophet.
Zephaniah serves as a summary of the pre-exilic prophets.
His message echos that of Amos, Joel, Jeremiah and Nahum.
As we explore our text this evening we discover that…
Thesis: The prophet Zephaniah thunders against the nations declaring that God is the God of all the earth and that nations will answer to Him.
Let me point out three things from our text.
- God is coming in sweeping judgment of the unbelieving nations. (2:4-15)
- God is coming in judgment of His own people because of their wicked unbelief. (3:1-4)
- God as the sovereign and righteous judge of all the earth will bring an end to wickedness and unbelief. (3:5-8)
Do you remember the story that Jesus told in Matthew 21?
We stand this side of the cross. When God asks today, “What more can I do? I have sent my Son, and they have killed even him.” There is far more cause for judgment than for Judah in days of Zephaniah. You’ve heard the Gospel. You’ve been told of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. You have the benefit of 2000 years of Gospel preaching. When you turn your back – what more can be done? I must say a judgment every bit as devastating as fell on the inhabitants of Jerusalem will fall on you.
Fortunately for us God’s mercy is great. His patience is long-suffering and therefore there is hope. Come to Christ and live.