Some of you are probably familiar with the 5 Love Languages that Gary Chapman helped identify years ago. These Love Languages are both given and received. In other words, they are the ways that we feel loved and show loved. If you’ve never studied them, you probably should, because most of us have a way that we receive love that is different from the way we show love, and almost without exception, we have been blessed with spouses/children who give and receive love in very different ways then we do.

These Love Languages are:

  1. Physical Touch. This is seen by a couple of my kids. Some of them want to snuggle up to mom. Others don’t even like a hug that much.
  2. Gifts. This is the way I express love. I like to give gifts. I love surprises. I think the invention of gift cards was from the anti-Christ, because for me it requires little thought. But the funny thing is that I love to give gifts, but do not feel like receiving gifts makes me more loved.
  3. Quality time. This is a love language of just hanging-out. There doesn’t have to be a plan. Just being together makes the individual feel loved.
  4. Acts of Service. I know there are many in this church that speak this language. You love to serve. Out of the way, when no one is looking, you just love to show love by serving.
  5. Words of Affirmation. This is how I receive love. Notice, I give love by giving gifts but receive love by words of affirmation. I feel loved when you say, “Pastor, when you spoke on this topic, I was forced to stop and consider all my life choices. It was meaningful. It was profound. Frankly, I was in awe at your wisdom, insight, and impeccable delivery.” I’m still waiting for that…

Words of affirmation. Not just, “Good job, nice sermon, or you really didn’t put me to sleep this week for the first time.” Words that truly affirm are like wind beneath my wings. They are the fuel on my fire. They make me feel loved.

And that’s why I love our text so much today. In the passage for our consideration, God gives me five words of affirmation. But here’s the great news. They aren’t just for me! They are for you too!!! Whatever your love language, God is speaking to you today in words of affirmation. I love you.

Let me set the stage. Zephaniah was a prophet of royal descent. He was writing during the time that Israel had turned to idolatry. He was warning them that judgment was coming. Although it is only a little book, just three chapters, Zepheniah uses the phrase “the Day of the Lord” more than any other book. It is a reference to the coming judgment. There is an urgency to his message. Judgment is coming.

  1. The Lord your God is in your midst, [God’s Presence]
  2. A mighty one who will save; [God’s Power]
  3. He will rejoice over you with gladness; [God’s Pleasure]
  4. He will quiet you by his love; [God’s Peace]
  5. He will exult over you with loud singing. [God’s Passion]

EXPLANATION: Understanding your identity in Christ will determine what you are, what you will be, and what you should be.

  1.  God’s Presence
    • So here is our first words of affirmation in this verse. “The LORD your God is in your midst.” This is the promise of the presence of God. It is God’s presence.
    • Here’s an incredible truth: God is not just watching over you, He is walking with you. Listen, the presence of God in your midst is more than just the presence of God during the Sunday morning worship hour.
    • I need the presence of God in my life for more than just 60 minutes on Sunday. I need the presence of God to permeate every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year of my life.
    • How about you? Are you big enough to only have God in your life for 60 minutes? I’m not, and I doubt you are either.
    • We need the presence of God to permeate every part of our lives. And He wants to. Tell your neighbor: “God’s not the problem; you are.” The LORD your God is in your midst. God is with you, are you with God?
    • It means we have a continual connection
      1. There is never a moment we are apart.
      2. There is never a moment we are separated from His love.
      3. There is never a moment when He is far, too busy to care for you.
    • It means we can have constant communication
      1. God wants us to have a continual conversation with Him. He loves to communicate with His children.
      2. You don’t have to wait to start the conversation. You don’t have to take a break to make conversation. You don’t have to wait till food is served, it’s time for bed, or you are in trouble. You can have constant communication with God.
      3. If you would just spend a little more talking to Him you would find yourself walking into a whole lot less trouble.  
    • Abiding in God’s presences takes practice. It’s not natural. It’s supernatural. It takes practice. Practice the presence of God, because He is assuring you today that He is in your midst.
  2. God’s Power
    • “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save.”
    • This verse doesn’t say:
      1. God might save
      2. God sometimes saves
      3. God could save
    • It says, “a mighty one…” This Hebrew word means, “champion, chief, giant, mighty man, strong man…” Our God is a 
      1. Champion of our circumstances
      2. Chief over our concerns
      3. Mighty man over all creation
      4. Strong man that wil cover us
    • He is mighty to save! God is the
      1. Salvation-giving
      2. Victory-winning
      3. Foe-defeating
      4. Live-preserving
      5. Sin-canceling
      6. Death-overcoming
      7. Soul-delivering King of Heaven.
    • And He is in your midst. If God is for us, who can be against us?
  3. God’s Pleasure
    • Now here is the third affirmation in our text. Tucked right smack dab in the middle of it. While all are important, I believe that this next phrase is the most important of the five. And here is the reason why. This phrase is the reason that all the other phrases are true.
    • “He will rejoice over you with gladness.” Stated another way, “God delights in you.” Because God delights in you, because God takes pleasure in you, 
      1. He is in your midst
      2. He is your salvation
      3. He will bring you peace
      4. He will sing over you.
    • I think if we asked most people today how God feels about them, we would get a response like this:
      1. He doesn’t care for me; just look about how much I have suffered
      2. He doesn’t accept me; just look at how much I have sinned
      3. He doesn’t speak to me; just listen to all the silence
      4. He doesn’t come near to me; just look at all the separation
    • Many people outside the church, even if they believe there is a God, do not believe in a warm, personal, loving God. They believe God is distant, disinterested, and detached.
    • But the Bible teaches that God draws near to you, delivers you, and delights in you.
    • What about you? Do you believe that God delights in you? Do you believe that you are the apple of his eye? Do you believe that God not only received you, but He actually rejoices over you with the pride of a loving Father?
    • Consider Isaiah 49:15-16. In it, God demonstrates his delight for his people, Israel. He rhetorically asks, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”
    • You have been inscripted into the hands of God. The word there is like the word for “tatoo.” God has tattooed you on the palm of his hands so that you are amazingly, astonishingly, continually and permanently before Him.
    • God takes pleasure in you, even if you don’t feel like He should. God delights in you even when you don’t delight in Him.
    • God delights in forgiving you. He is in your midst. God delights in fighting for you. He is mighty to save. You are God’s pleasure.
  4. God’s Peace
    • He will quiet you by His love. You can receive God’s peace.
    • We live in a noisy world. Constantnly, we are bombarded with a cacophony. Our radios are always on, phones are always on, tv’s are always on.
    • Noise. Noise. Noise. Busy homes and busy lives and busy jobs add to the din. At times, we find ourselves shouting above it all, “If I could just have some peace and quiet.”
    • That is the time to run to God and retreat from the world. Stop moving. Settle your soul. And just abide with Christ. He is in your midst. He is mighty to save. He rejoices over you with gladness. He will quiet you by His love.”
  5. God’s Passion
    • Finally, “He will exalt over you with loud singing.” That is God’s passion. He sings over you.
    • Perhaps you think, “God couldn’t possible love me like that. I’m too small, too insignificant. Why would the Creator of this vast universe of beauty and strength and splendor bother to think about me? 
    • “I’m nothing. I’ve never done anything meaningful. I have no talent. Nobody will notice when I die. No one even notices me when I come into church. No one bothers to greet me or say hello, except maybe as a formality. I’m never invited out to lunch. No one ever asks my opinion. No one ever sits next to me unless it’s the only seat left. So don’t patronize me with pious pronouncements about God singing over me with love. Maybe he did over Mother Teresa, but no me.” (http://cavy.net.nz/sermons/2007/sermon-2007-10-21.pdf)
    • You may not feel significant, but the God of the Universe delights to sing over you. God sings over you. Ponder that for a moment. Like a brand new parent singing a lullaby over their precious infant swaddled in their cradle, God sings over you.
    • Like a romantic lover on bended knee serenading their beloved, God sings over you.
    • What does the voice of God sound like? John Piper wrote,
      1. “I hear the booming of Niagara Falls mingled with the trickle of a mossy mountain stream. I hear the blast of Mount St. Helens mingled with a kitten’s purr. I hear the power of an East Coast Hurricane and the barely audible puff of a night snow in the woods. 
      2. And I hear the unimaginable roar of the sun, 865 thousand miles thick, 1,300,000 times bigger than the earth, and nothing but fire, 1,000,000 degrees centigrade on the cooler surface of the corona. 
      3. But I hear this unimaginable roar mingled with the tender, warm crackling of logs in the living room on a cozy winter’s night.” (Piper, Pleasures of God, 180).  
    • What a beautiful picture in words. 
      1. The Lord your God is in your midst, [God’s Presence]
      2. A mighty one who will save; [God’s Power]
      3. He will rejoice over you with gladness; [God’s Pleasure]
      4. He will quiet you by his love; [God’s Peace]
      5. He will exult over you with loud singing. [God’s Passion]


How do we apply this ancient text to our modern lives?

  1. Abide with God; He is in your midst.
  2. Trust in God; He is mighty to save.
  3. Delight yourself in God; He delights in you.


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