This sermon series on the book of Zephaniah was preached by Jeff Miller at Trinity Bible Church in 2013. Click on an individual sermon for an abstract of the message and to access both audio and video of the message.
Zephaniah (part one)
The minor prophet Zephaniah presents a view of God that might disturb many Christians. We certainly know that our God is loving, and we tend to emphasize this quality while neglecting His other attributes. But our loving God is also a just God whose holiness is offended by our sin. He rightly demands a measure of subjection from His creation and, when we repeatedly thumb our nose at Him, He rightly meets our rebellion with His judgment. It never comes as a surprise, though. God in His mercy constantly invites us to live on His terms which He clearly defines for us. Sometimes that invitation includes an angry warning of judgment from a God who has grown disgusted with His creation's long, arrogant disregard.
Zephaniah (part two)
God's message that Zephaniah delivered in Judah was shockingly severe. God had patiently sent a long string of prophets to warn Judah that their persistent rebellion would be judged, and Zephaniah's message suggests that God's anger had reached a boiling point. Unless they repent, He plans to erase them and any memory of them from the earth. Our future promises another terrible day of judgment for those who fail to heed God's warnings and come to Him on His terms. As the New Testament reminds us, "It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31).
Zephaniah (part three)
The "Day of the Lord" theme is more prominent in Zephaniah than in any other prophet. This "Day" represents a season during which God punishes rebellious people who have persistently declined God's invitation to repent. The Bible portrays God "visiting" people for judgment with His outstretched hand of wrath. For Judah, this Day was near because it could commence at any time. We're living under the same conditions today, anticipating a final, climactic Day of Judgment when God will restore righteousness by turning this upside-down world right-side up. "Be silent before the Lord GOD, for the LORD's day of judgment is almost here."
Zephaniah (part four)
The Lord will seek out and find those who persist in their sinful ways; the "Day of the Lord" is inescapable for them. But for those who humbly bend their will in subjection to His, God's wrath is avoidable. He delights in sheltering His compliant children from the wrath that His justice demands. We must seek the Lord, seek righteousness, and seek humility before time runs out. After all, God is compassionate, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and One who relents concerning calamity.
Zephaniah (part five)
Zephaniah describes God's judgment of Judah for her persistent rebellion against Him. But sin is a global problem, and Zephaniah also threatens other nations with God's wrath. Like Judah, other nations have disregarded God due to pride, refusing to abide by His terms. They have also mistreated Judah, God's covenant people. Sin is still a global problem, God's judgment is His future response, and the Gospel is His merciful solution. Let us invite the nations of the world to repent and come to God on His terms to avoid the outpouring of His indiscriminate wrath.
Zephaniah (part six)
We cry "unfair" when we don't get what we want or suffer what we don't feel we deserve. Get ready for a resounding "unfair" sung in unison by the chorus of humanity in the Day of the Lord's judgment. We've been trained to feel entitled to the good life today and forever. We assume that the universe simply owes it to us. God's righteous judgment will drown out the accusatory cries of "injustice" echoing from perishing humanity. The universe is His courtroom, and our protests, objections, and appeals will not thwart His honorable and just standards.
Zephaniah (part seven)
Persecution and divine judgment have a common result: refinement. One of the Bible's favorite images for the Day of the Lord's judgment is a consuming fire. Fire conveys a number of impressions: angry, unstoppable, painful, and purging. God's fiery visitation of humanity will not result in annihilation but purification. The goal of the Lord is not to eliminate all of humanity but that some of humanity would faithfully serve Him. God will be glorified before, during, and after the consuming fire that our species will experience in the Day of judgment.
Zephaniah (part eight)
God's judgment against unrighteousness is terrifying and severe, but it is not everlasting. It will come to an end once He has turned this upside-down world right-side up again. After God judges the nations that He used as instruments against Judah, He will remove His judgment. He will then rule over His people during an age of righteousness. His people will enjoy peace and prosperity as they shout for joy under the reign of their divine King. In return, their loving God will shout for joy over His righteous people. All things will be as they should.