No Time For Complacency! A sermon on Zephaniah 1:7-8
No Time For Complacency
† Jesus, Son, Savior †
May the Gifts of Serenity and Peace of God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ not just sustain you in these days, but empower and drive you from being complacent about sin, to reconcile those divided by it.
Did you come here to hear that reading?
What were you thinking of, as you heard the Old Testament reading from Zephaniah this morning? Was it what you expected to hear, what you thought about when you getting ready to come to church?
Anyone like the picture on the cover? Although it is there, not sure many of you saw the word “hope” there!
This is a hard reading, for sure, and I wonder how many of us truly agreed with Bob as we said “Thanks be to God!”, to his “this is the word of the LORD!”
Even as we struggle with this, we have to realize that the day of the Lord is near, and that means there is, no time for complacency.
For while that day is one we hope for, for others it will be terrifying.
Being sucked into the dregs of Life (Complacency)
This idea of complacency in the Old Testament has an interesting word picture. It is a word picture of someone so drunk that they do not notice they are drinking the bottom of the barrel of wine, what are called the dregs.
They are so drunk they do not notice they are drinking wine that is thicker than soup, and it causes them to be even more inebriated, even more, unaware of the situation around them. They are simply numb to reality, unaware of what they are witnessing, unable to even care.
While we don’t realize it, that is the power of sin over us.
It makes us numb, unaware of those around us, unable to care for them, as long as we are able to continue in the sin. Like the alcoholic who doesn’t realize the damage he is doing to himself and to others, sin slowly and surely claims those who are victim to it, slowly demanding that we give ourselves into it more and more.
You see, sin is the strongest addiction out there, and it doesn’t matter the sin!
That is what scripture is talking about when it talks about God searching through Jerusalem, searching through people that claim to be his, people that are so drunk in their sin that they don’t recognize His presence.
Please understand – God isn’t just searching out these sinners just in the world, but here, among His people.
And for those complacent in their sin, hear again what waits,
14 “That terrible day of the LORD is near. Swiftly it comes— a day of bitter tears, a day when even strong men will cry out. 15 It will be a day when the LORD’s anger is poured out— a day of terrible distress and anguish, a day of ruin and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, 16 a day of trumpet calls and battle cries. Down go the walled cities and the strongest battlements! 17 “Because you have sinned against the LORD, I will make you grope around like the blind. Your blood will be poured into the dust, and your bodies will lie rotting on the ground.” Zephaniah 1:14-17 (NLT)
This is the word of the Lord!
Thanks be to God?
For judging us this harshly for our sin?
The Gospel of Jealousy
O wait, darn it, I forgot the last verse, the place where we will find not just the terror, but the hope. It’s a bit hidden, the gospel in the passage, so look closely
18 Your silver and gold will not save you on that day of the LORD’s anger. For the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy. He will make a terrifying end of all the people on earth. Zephaniah 1:18 (NLT)
Do you see the hope there? Right in the middle of that verse….
It might not be obvious at first, see it there?
In the fire of His jealousy, we see hope, right when our silver and gold does no good, when we can’t purchase our salvation, there is hope.
You see, God is jealous enough to burn it all up, yet when we take prophecy as a whole, and not simply focus on one passage, we realize that this too must be considered,
9 I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’” Zechariah 13:9 (NLT)
Throughout scripture, we hear about God’s jealousy, that God desires to make for Himself a people. But God’s way of doing that is incredible, for He purifies us, He cleanses us, even as He burns off the impurities.
Remember John the Baptist promised this when He said,
“But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Matthew 3:11 (NLT)
The fire of God’s wrath was poured out on Christ at the cross, all of His anger, all of His rage, and those of us in Christ were raised with Him when God broke the power of both sin and death.
Even are we can’t be complacent about our sin, we can’t be complacent about the sin of others. Not just about warning them about the sin, but we need to reconcile them to God! We need to help them wake up from their complacency that sin causes. We need to give them the hope that will see them through the fire to the resurrection, assured by the promise of Jesus.
That is why we are here, and knowing God is near, let us not fall into complacency, but rather hear God say that we are His people, while we rejoice that He is our God…and that He brings us through the fire, cleansed, holy, pure, and His. AMEN!