Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Progression of Faith to Boldness

Calvin has been a rich read for me during 2011. I’m spending December reading through Calvin’s commentary on Ephesians, and I found a helpful nugget in the middle of his treatment of chapter 3, commenting on verse 12. “Faith produces confidence, which again, in its turn, produces boldness.”
Calvin’s comments force our attention to the problem of a non-growing, non-progressing faith. It is a faith that is moribund and stagnant. Calvin says that “an empty and confused knowledge of Christ must not be mistaken for Faith.” True faith will not allow us to sit still. It drives us forward.
“There are three stages in our progress:"

"First, we believe the promises of God;"
"next, by relying on them, we obtain that confidence which is accompanied by holiness and peace of mind;"
"and, last of all, comes boldness, which enables us to banish fear, and to come with firmness and steadiness into the presence of God.”
We have spent time recently at the close of 2 Peter with the mini-series entitled, “Living in the Light of Promise.” We must know, and then meditate upon, and believe the promises. But God’s Word must also be obeyed. We are not relying on the promises (stage 2) if we are living in disobedience and unholiness. There is no peace, or confidence, for the person living in sin. The life of obedience will result in the fruit of boldness.
We do not live in a bold age when it comes to faith. Yes, men are bold about their accomplishments or agendas, but not, in general, about their faith. The defect must come in lack of progression. We are failing to focus on the promises. Our lives are riddled with sin and shame. When confidence is shaken, boldness is impossible.
Let us repent, and come back to Christ. Let us embrace the Promise that is Jesus, and leave our sins behind. Let us lean on him and learn from him, and walk with him, and step forward in boldness to share the greatness of God and beauty of Christ.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tebow, and the Sanhedrin

In the early days of Christianity, it was the disciples of Jesus who carried the torch for Jesus after his ascension. They stood and preached in the biggest arena of Jerusalem, the Temple, and they could not have been clearer about their devotion to Jesus.
Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, has recently taken flak from several quarters for his outspoken testimony in favor of Jesus. Jake Plummer wishes that he would tone it down. Now, Kurt Warner, a former NFL quarterback and former outspoken witness for Jesus, has advised, "let your actions do your speaking."
I can't help but see the parallel between, on the one hand, Tebow and his quarterback advisers; and on the other hand, the disciples/apostles Peter and John before the Sanhedrin. In Acts 4:17, the Council, in their political wisdom, decided "to warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name." You've got to love the boys' answer: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19–20 NAS95)
Later, recorded in Acts 5, Peter and John are actually jailed for not following the party line. They are miraculously released from jail by an angel, go back to speaking out about Jesus, and then are once again dragged before the media. They complain, "You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching." Peter answers them, and he talks about, ... Jesus. This is how the chapter ends: “after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (Acts 5:40–42 NAS95)
Here are a few notes for Tim Tebow, and others who would speak publicly of Jesus:
1. you are following in the steps of the apostles. They opened their mouths and spoke of Jesus. They did not merely let their actions do their talking.
2. your words will not ever be met with universal acclaim - and sometimes there may be no one in your favor at all. People's negative reaction to the testimony of Jesus is not the test of its truth or its worth and value.
3. you will probably be met with as much discouragement as encouragement from other Christians. 
4. it's likely to get harder. But for followers of Jesus, we have assurance that ultimately, it will get much, much better.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What to Watch Out For (2 Peter 2:10-19)

False teachers do not always come from afar. They can be home-grown products who catch a whiff of something "better" and run with it. In our passage, a pastiche of verbal splashes of color, they are pictured as being sure of themselves. Better to have teachers who are not so sure of themselves, but sure of God and His Word.

They push an experience of faith that appeals more to the senses than to the mind. We don't deny that the emotions play a role in our worship. And we admit that we are reserved in our emotional expressions. But we believe that the mind should lead the emotions, not the other way around. Worship that appeals to the senses may provide a dash of inspiration, but it is the teaching and training of the mind that will provide long-term direction and discipline for the disciple. Again, this is not intended as any kind of defense of cold and dead religion.

Another characteristic is that these teachers are more taken with greed than with godliness. They are feathering their earthly nests, whether materially, or with popularity and power. They are looking out for themselves. They do not fit the pattern of shepherds who give themselves for the sake of the sheep.

They despise authority. This isn't just old leaders and ways of doing things. They despise spiritual authority. Their new notions and bright ideas are born of the flesh, and they aren't listening to the Spirit who has been speaking through God's Word in Christ's church for a long, long time.


  1. We must be trained to discern between flesh and Spirit in our lives and in our church. We need to know the difference.
  2. We must value the practice of humility, and resist the attraction to self-promotion, whether in ourselves, or in others.
  3. We must love the truth, and practice the truth. We must allow the truth to be a flame in our hearts that fires our emotions in all the appropriate ways, whether breaking our hearts or exploding with joy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jesus' Death

Imagine this conversation between two Galileans days after Jesus death:
"Did you hear, Jesus died."
'No, that's too bad. Was he ill?'
"No, no. He didn't just expire. He was killed."
'How terrible! Was it an accident? Did he drown, or did he fall?'
"No, he wasn't killed accidentally. He was killed on purpose."
'You can't be serious! Was it those Romans?'
"Well, yes, .. and no. It actually started with the Jewish leaders. Worse yet, it even involved one his own disciples."
'But how was he killed? Was he assassinated? Was it a riot? How were the Romans involved?'
"The Jewish high priest brought charges against him before Pilate, and he eventually handed him over to be crucified.
'Crucified! Then he wasn't just killed. He was executed.'
"Well, yes, except he was executed voluntarily."
'No one is executed voluntarily. That's why they use soldiers.'
"Ah, but Jesus knew and accepted this death as his life mission. He died for you and me."
'Oh, so his life wasn't taken from him. He gave his life for us.'
"Yes, that's right."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More than Meets the Eye

A little girl goes to the pottery studio to fashion a bowl for her mother. She forms it with her little hands, and then paints it with childish artistry. After it is fired, she brings it home, wraps it, and presents it as a gift to her mother.
What is the mother to make of this crooked dish, a little bit gaudy and quite a bit ugly? You can be sure that the mother will have a far different view than a brother.
First, she sees not so much the bowl, but the girl. This is her little girl. The mother gave birth to this child. She taught her most of what she knows. The daughter's eye for shapes and colors are gifts that came largely from and through her. One might think that this is a moment to be critical of a dish. Rather, it is a moment rich with appreciation for a daughter. 
Second, the mother evaluates the dish not so much for its utility, but for its token or symbolic value. "This is a gift from my daughter. I will keep it so long as I live." Other bowls fill the cupboards. They are used, cracked, and discarded. This bowl will have a far different life, put in a special spot to be handled with care whenever the mother feels the need of a smile.
Third, Mom can say, "it is beautiful" without lying. The beauty of the bowl consists not in its form or function. The beauty consists in that it is a gift, freely and gladly given to a mother, not because she needed it, but because the little girl wanted to respond in a relationship that was initiated and founded, not by the daughter, but by the mother. The gift shows that this is indeed, a real relationship.
And so, when you and I offer our acts of devotion or service to our God, His eye rests not so much on our works, but on us, His children. We are his children solely by virtue of His grace, and He is gladdened by our clumsy participation in a relationship which He Himself has formed.

Monday, August 01, 2011

In Search of a Singular Subject

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:8, NASB)
This is a tough verse. I just don't get the way it is translated. Let's start with the verb, here shown as "render." Nowhere else in the NT it is translated this way. Elsewhere it is translated "appoint" (Lk 12:14), or "put in charge" (Lk 12:42), or, in the case of Jas 3:6; 4:4, it has the sense of "function in this capacity."
So, in the case of 2 Peter 1:8, "these things" (qualities is an interpretive addition) have been appointed. But "these things" is plural, and the verb is singular. It seems that "these things" actually should function, not as the subject of the verb, but as the direct object. "He" appoints these things for you. And who is "He"? It would be our God and Savior, Jesus Christ (1:1) or our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (1:11) that begins and ends this section. He has personally and authoritatively designed and ordered that a fully-supplied faith would have a powerful effect in our lives. It is not unusual to have an un-named subject. It is rather foolish to have an un-known subject. I think that subject is Jesus. Let's give him some credit.
Next, there is no "if" in the text. He appoints these things (the seven qualities in vv. 5-7) for you, to have a powerful and fruitful effect in your lives, with the result that you will have a deep and rich relationship (true knowledge) with him. This is not an "if" or "maybe" verse. It is not hypothetical or mere potential. It is a clear statement that serves as a powerful promise. Christian, this Person will grow on you. Work your faith; use it; develop it. It is a wonderful gift from above. And it will strengthen that heavenly relationship that you have with our risen and ascended Savior.
And, consider making a couple of pencil notes in the margin of your Bible alongside 2 Peter 1:8.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Was Born with No Brothers

I've joked several times about the hardship of being born the only boy with three sisters. I never had a brother. But this is not true on a couple of levels. 
In my years in fellowship the family at Milford Baptist, I've normally driven cars with quite a few miles on them. There was the Cavalier station wagon that Jane and I bought new, but we made it all the way to 200,000. There was the Trooper that I got cheap after it had been in an accident, and it's younger brother a few years later. Now there's a Jeep with electrical (or, demon) problems. And with all these cars, and more, I found some brothers.
I was rear-ended a few years ago while driving the Cavalier. Matt Kulig towed me (in the dead of night) from St. Johns to Swartz Creek where we used a garage to take my good engine from my bad body and place it in another body that Matt's father (whom I scarcely knew) gave me. Dean Buddingh helped with that project, and these two brothers blessed me with their expertise and many more miles. I could never have worked this out or done this job myself.
The Trooper was 4-wheel drive, so when the clutch had to be replaced, it involved a bit more work, more than I knew. This operation took place in Scott Bower's garage, and Scott provided a lot of expertise, and Bill Grissom a lot of work, in helping me replace the slave cylinder (didn't know I had one) and the clutch.
I loved that red Trooper, except for the failing fuel pump. Ray Prieur lay on the ground with me to drop the gas tank and replace the pump, and then fix it again, and again. He was great, as was Scott, at teaching me to do things and not just doing them for me.
Al Lund loaned me his garage as Ben Busick and I spent a lot of hours taking an engine out of the "newer" Trooper and putting it back together again. Ben was willing to work with me, in spite of his aversion to "strange" vehicles (not Ford) with metric bolts.

We have had a space of time with newer used cars. But as the cars get older, things start to go wrong. At the moment, Ray Robbins is now trying to troubleshoot me through Jeep windows that won't work. It makes for awkward moments when at a toll booth or at the drive-thru window. I deeply appreciate the brotherly kindness shown by all these guys, and others besides
Oh, and Jesus also foundationally and fundamentally came to my aid, not to help me with my cars, but to redeem my life from the pit and give me a new life.
So I guess I have some brothers after all.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What If We Just Did What It Says?

When things are complicated, they are almost always confusing. Priorities become mere nagging urgencies. Mission becomes a collection of programs. Busyness crowds out reflection. Details take over prayer time. Deadlines erase God-given lifelines.
I would like to suggest that Isaiah 12:3,4 serves as an identity statement and a mission statement for God's rescued people. There have been hard, chastening times (chs 7-10), but God's comfort has returned (12:1). In this flush of relief, salvation and favor, there is a promise (the identity statement), and then instructions (the mission statement).
The promise reads: "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation" (12:3). This phrase embodies my main illustrations for the NT phrase, "out of the faith of Jesus Christ" (e.g., Galatians 3:22, "so that the promise flowing out of the faith of Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe."). Rather than seeking to draw the water-for-the-day from the well of the works of the Law, perpetually refreshing life is freely available from the well of faith in the faithful Christ. So long as we seek to gain favor with God by drawing water from the well of the Law, we can enjoy neither joy nor life, just pulling and straining and sweating and lugging that dead weight time and time again. But the divine and perfect Jesus brings a fountain of living waters to us. He is my "well of salvation." "With joy you will draw water" from Christ.
So the promise directs us to Jesus. It is all about knowing him, trusting him, following him. There really is nothing else. This should be neither complicated nor confusing.
So if you know Jesus, what do you do with others who know Jesus (the local church)? There are four phrases in Isaiah 12:4 
  1. Give thanks to the Lord
  2. Call upon his name
  3. make known his deeds among the peoples
  4. proclaim that his name is exalted 

Each of these implies some kind of verbalization (though "make known" can be done through deeds). Numbers 2 and 4 point to the Lord's (number 1) name, while number 3 refers to his deeds. 
Numbers 1 and 2 are things that believers do together. Number 3 is our service and witness. Number 4 is announcing or heralding the greatness of God that must take place in assemblies, in homes, and in the marketplace.
So what if we just did what it says? First, live the promise. Be your identity. Live life with Jesus as the fountain of life. Defer to him; depend on him.
Then, with other believers, obey and fulfill the mission. Spend time giving thanks (1) for the dramatic reversal of God's rescue in our lives. And pray (2). Confess sins; seek God's will and ways; pray for fresh expressions of the life of God in our lives and in the lives of others. Pray for mighty manifestations of His presence and power.
Next, make known his deeds (3) among the nations. The assembly of believers needs to learn together and from each other how to demonstrate the character of God in daily life, in front of neighbors and associates. Our commitments to truth and mercy and forgiveness must reflect God's truth, mercy and forgiveness.
But don't stop there. Our Scripture instruction includes "proclaim that his name is exalted." Boldly state your reason for living, and that for which you would die. Talk about someone instead of yourself, someone more interesting than your kids, and someone more worthy than your lastest purchase or vacation. He should be preached "in" church, and "as" church. This will begin to make sense as we obey the other instructions, and will make little sense if we neglect them.
The Book of Isaiah is called "the gospel of the Old Testament." This verse could be a version of "the Great Commission" of the Old Testament. Or maybe it is just a brief instruction to believers, directing them to just do what it says.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Baptism, and Boldness

I know that for centuries the church has been divided over baptism battles. As a Baptist, I understand baptism to be the ordinance by which the believer expresses outwardly that which has been worked by the Spirit inwardly. The testimony powerfully pictures both identification with Christ in his crucifixion, burial and resurrection, and also the cleansing associated with forgiveness of sins. Believers' baptism, then, signals to the gathered church that this person is to be accepted as a brother/sister in Christ. 
Baptism is a testimony to the Spirit's work. And yet, there are baptized unbelievers. The testimony can be false. So also with the testimony of boldness, though in different cases.
It seems that an evidence of an apostle's authenticity was in his willingness to boldly proclaim the gospel (Acts 9:27,28; 1 Thessalonians 2:2). An apostle's speech was critical to the fulfillment of his role, and the willingness to boldly speak for Christ in the face of dangerous and deadly opposition was an indication that he was fully committed to the cause of Christ, that he was truly Christ's apostle. Yes, there can be bold-speaking charlatans. But few will risk the damage if their soul is not wrapped up in Christ.
So, I've been baptized, but am I a bold proclaimer of the Gospel (not just in the safety of the church service, but in the mixed-up marketplace)? What if authenticity as a Christian were not just evidenced by baptism, but by boldness? Would you or I have convincing testimony that we are truly living under the claim of Christ?
Some would argue that, since the apostolic function has ceased with the completing of the New Testament, ordinary believers should not be challenged to follow the apostolic example. I am a cessationist, I suppose (though I'm not sure the categories will fit forever), but I don't believe that refraining from tongues and healings allows us to ignore all of Paul's example. 
I believe that one's testimony of bold proclamation should match his/her testimony of baptism's profession.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Not a Superficial Faith (2 Peter 1:5,6)

Our faith is to be supplied with knowledge (2 Peter 1:5,6). That is, our faith is pinned at the corners with truthful insights whose implications are being worked out in our lives. A failure to do so leaves us dangerously close to the "fool" of Proverbs - ones who have truth available to them, but who choose to ignore it.
Paul helps us with this subject of an informed faith when he writes 1 Corinthians - to believers who should know better. Several times through the letter he says, "Don't you know?" And they did, but they didn't. They know the words on the page, but the integration into decisions and behaviors had not penetrated. The following three "don't you know's" are illustrations of paper-truths that need to be made heart-truths.
"Don't you know that you (plural) are the temple of the living God?" (1 Cor 3:16). There are probably many applications, but here are two. First, the church, and the local church, is not first of all a human operation, but a divine operation. It is God's plan, God's initiative, God's transformation, God's instruction. As you look through the context of 1 Corinthians 3, notice how many times it says "God's," "God's," "God's." It is not ours. So the search for the perfect pastor/elder/deacon/drummer is not the highest priority. There ought to be a search committee looking for the leading of God's Spirit. And I'm sure that in many churches, there are people banding together to do just that. The church is not primarily about winsome personalities and compelling programs. It is people moved by the Spirit of God for the sake of Christ doing the things that Christians do - praying, serving, sharing Christ.
A second application is that we must stop trashing the church, even (or especially) the local church. Yes, it is indeed a group of bumbling people who would have a hard time finding their way across a bridge. But these idiots (lovingly so called) are God's idiots. And they probably know that they don't "get it" in large degree. I've marked Agur's statement in my Bible: "Surely I am more stupid than any man," (Proverbs 30:2). But still God loves us. He loves His church. We should talk about the church like God does, not failing to tell the truth, but to do so with love and affection.
"Don't you know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit?" (1 Corinthians 6:19). While food may not be a big deal, how you treat your body is a big deal, and sexual relationships are a big deal. Let me be quick. If you are single, you should not act as though you were married. No sexual activity. If you are married, you should not act as though you weren't. Be a couple. I should have been this brief when I preached this.
"Don't you know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?" (1 Corinthians 9:24). I don't think Paul's point is that he wants to beat out all other Christians. I think he is making the point that he is "all in" in this race, and that we should be as well. There is no such thing as "casual Christianity." To be a believer in Christ means to be a follower of Christ. It means to walk with/by the Spirit. It means to be adopted into a new family, engaged in a new covenant, and being part of a rigorous, sanctifying process that fits us for a new creation. Paul is a competitive Christian. He wants to win. He wants the team to win. He doesn't like it when a team member is distracted and misses an opportunity and let's the team down. Let's get involved.
Scripture is full of truth - many truths, that need to penetrate deep in our lives so that our actions and reactions are transformed. Peter wants your faith to be shaped by a penetrating, transforming knowledge. It will take the rest of your life. There is no time to waste. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Christian Virtue: Letting Paul Explain Peter

2 Peter 1:5 says that our faith is to be supplied with virtue. We must not have a faith that makes a good profession, but then is betrayed by bad character or bad behavior. A good faith must be clothed with goodness of heart and life.
Paul's letter to the Philippian believers provides instruction on this subject of virtue. Most helpful is the constellation of seven characteristics in Philippians 4:8:  
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 
The 6th characteristic, "excellence," translates the same Greek word for "virtue in 2 Peter 1:5. The closest companion-term to "excellence" in the list is "worthy of praise." Our professed faith is to be accompanied by a praise-worthy life. Yes, we are all sinners, and we disappoint in so many ways. But Peter would have us exercise diligence in cultivating a life that has this kind of fruit, and not leave our faith fallow, as though it were a bare field.
But aside from this key parallel text that helps us understand the idea of "virtue" in 2 Peter 1:5, there are other references in Philippians that help out as well. A hint of this is provided in the opening verses, where Paul reminds us that God has begun a "good" work in us (1:6). He has planted the seed of Christian virtue in our new lives. That seed must grow, and we are to encourage its growth. Now let's look at some material from each of the first 3 chapters.
Paul prays for the believers in Philippians 1:9-11. The shape of virtue that is sought in this prayer is a discerning love that grows in excellence (different word from 2 Peter 1:5, though similar concept) and is marked by sincerity and blamelessness, not for the sake of this world, but for the sake of the Lord. We hope for and work toward a righteous fruit. There are major aspects of this process for which have little responsibility or capability. There are certain things that only God can do. But we are to develop a taste and sharpen an appreciation, not for base or crude things, but for the kinds of things with which God is pleased, and for the kinds of things that will be fitting on the last day and in the light of God's glory. Paul is praying for a kind of virtue that shines brightest in heaven's light, whether or not it wins much of the world's acclaim.
Humility is a key element in Christian virtue in Philippians 2 (verse 3 and surrounding context). While self-concept and self-confidence are key components  in this world's definition of virtue, humility is just as necessary for heaven's definition. Paul uses a most strong support for humility by appealing to the incarnation/passion of Christ, in which he humbled himself. Perfect Christian virtue is found in Christ. Christ was humble. It cannot be missing from the expression of our faith. A proud Christian has a virtue problem. 
Finally, I want to emphasize that Christian virtue is different from common virtue. Common character qualities are admirable and desirable. But, outside of Christ, there is often a quest to do good or to be good enough in order to offset the bad that we are or do. This is not Christian. The Gospel (Good News) is that sinners (all of us) may receive and benefit from salvation by faith - not in ourselves, but by faith in Christ, the only truly Faithful One and Righteous One. So the final aspect of virtue in Philippians that I would have you consider is Paul's aspiration in 3:7-11 - knowing Jesus in such a way that we are identified with him; identified with him in such a way that his death and resurrection are actually integrated into our lives. We are bound up with him. His death kills sin and death in us. His life births new, spiritual life in us. All things are from Christ, and for Christ. I am not virtuous because of my virtues. He is my virtue.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Let Those Refuse to Sing...

The story of the Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is one of the Bible's best (Daniel 3). Three young men, exiled far from home, are commanded at the sound of the music to bow to the Babylonian gods. Refusal to do so would result in their death.
In a limited sense, Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonian empire, had every right to make this demand. He was, after all, the king of the realm. All subjects owed their obedience to him. In this limited view, we understand that what is good for the king is good for the subjects of the king.
Of course, we realize that Nebuchadnezzar was never an ultimate king. He was local, and temporary. Nonetheless, the predicament of the three young men is gripping. Their refusal to bow down is noted, reported, and warned. They are mercifully given a second chance. Their response is inspiring: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” 
Now we come to Christian worship in the local church. God, the Sovereign King, is gathering His people to praise His holy name. And, it is reported that there are some who refuse to sing. They may reply that they do not sing because of lack of voice, or unfamiliarity with the song, or a preference for some other instrument or style. Maybe you are just not in the mood. But these things matter little when God's people is gathered and given opportunity and obligation to render praise to their God.
We are not God's police force. We are glad that you are present. But we are gathered to worship God. The most important person in the room is not you, but God, present by His Spirit. The most important pleasure in the room is not yours, but God's. He is pleased when His people praise.
Isaac Watts, the English hymn writer, wrote the line that is used in the title: "Let those refuse to sing, who never knew our God." If you know Him, sing. If you wish to praise Him, sing. If you want to know Him, sing!"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chiastic Structure for Haggai 1:12-15

I wasn't able to show this during the sermon, but (if the indents will show in the post) it might be easier to see how the center of the passage is "I am with you;" how "showed reverence" aligns and interprets "stirred up the spirit;" and how "obeyed" plays itself out in "came and worked." 

A. 12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of 
Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him. 
B. And the people showed reverence for the LORD. 
                  C. 13 Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke by the commission of the                   LORD to the people saying, “‘I am with you,’ declares the LORD.” 
B' 14 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; 
A' and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts,
their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the king.