• Introduction
  • Trust And Commitment Demonstrated
  • Too Human
  • Faith In Action
  • Armour-Bearers
  • Ongoing Commitment
  • Mere Men
  • People And Problems
  • No Place For Opposition
  • Intolerance Of Evil
  • Holiness
  • Neglect Of Worship
  • Giving To God
  • Obedience... A Matter Of Convenience?
  • Godless Commitments
  • About The Author
Continuing Commitment
Building With God

Continuing Commitment

  • Introduction
  • Trust And Commitment Demonstrated
  • Too Human
  • Faith In Action
  • Armour-Bearers
  • Ongoing Commitment
  • Mere Men
  • People And Problems
  • No Place For Opposition
  • Intolerance Of Evil
  • Holiness
  • Neglect Of Worship
  • Giving To God
  • Obedience... A Matter Of Convenience?
  • Godless Commitments
  • About The Author


The story of Nehemiah is a stirring, true-life account of what can be achieved when just one man makes his life totally available to God.

So far in this series we have seen not only how Nehemiah identified with God’s desires, but how he also inspired others to do likewise. Together they rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, against great odds, then went on from there to pledge enduring commitment and obedience to their God.

Similar times of revival – or renewal, to use a more contemporary term – have taken place throughout the history of Israel and the Church. They usually begin when God finds a man willing to identify with His heart’s desire and ready to join with Him in fulfilling that desire. As God’s true representatives, such men then draw others together – giving God a people with one heart, ready to do His will.

Such times of revival are certainly wonderful. Yet the ultimate challenge is not in the faith, cost and dedication required to start them – but in the continuing commitment needed to sustain them.

Human nature being what it is, the give-it-all-you’ve-got, short sprint always has more appeal than the long, grueling marathon. The young couple, passionately in love, are not necessarily prepared for the reality of a lifetime commitment. Passion, enthusiasm and a willingness to give without counting the cost are great – so long as they last. But how long will they last?

In this final book in our series we will see the stark contrast between the thrill of godly achievement, and the tragic reality of human fickleness.

Trust And Commitment Demonstrated

As this story of Nehemiah has unfolded we have seen, first how the wall of Jerusalem was successfully rebuilt, then how the people determined they would not forsake God as they had in the past. Their quest to be true and faithful to God led them to present themselves to Him as a pure, obedient and God-centred people – a holy people.

Beginning now at Nehemiah 12:27-43, we find them gathering with great joy and enthusiasm for the dedication of the wall.

At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres. The singers also were brought together from the region around Jerusalem – from the villages of the Netophathites, from Beth Gilgal, and from the area of Geba and Azmaveth, for the singers had built villages for themselves around Jerusalem. When the priests and Levites had purified themselves ceremonially, they purified the people, the gates and the wall.

I had the leaders of Judah go up on top of the wall. I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks. One was to proceed on top of the wall to the right, toward the Dung Gate.

…The second choir proceeded in the opposite direction. I followed them on top of the wall, together with half the people – past the Tower of the Ovens to the Broad Wall…

The two choirs that gave thanks then took their places in the house of God; so did I, together with half the officials…

And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away. (Some parts omitted which detail participants and routes of the procession).

Nehemiah gathered God’s ministers – the priests and Levites – for the dedication of the wall. After they had purified themselves so as to be acceptable to God, they purified the people, the gates and the wall. Then Nehemiah got the leaders to go up on top of the wall, together with two large choirs. Starting from one point, they marched right around the wall in opposite directions in a great and joyful procession, meeting at the Temple. There they held a great celebration with more joy and singing and with sacrifices to God.

There is a particular significance in the fact that those who participated in this great procession marched along the top of the wall – for the wall was the work of their hands.

You could sit on a thousand chairs in your lifetime, but a chair you had made with your own hands would have a special significance. The first time you sat on it (and your wife was surprised it did not collapse under you) would be an expression of your confidence in the work of your hands.

These people had built a wall with their own hands, and marching around on top of it was a demonstration of their belief and trust in what they had built. More than that, in this ceremony of dedication, they were proclaiming that the work of their hands was also the work of God’s hands.

In doing this they were also shaming their enemies, who had scoffed at their efforts. One of them, Tobiah, had derisively said: “What they are building – if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!” (4:3). What a triumph it was, then, for them to gather together and march around on the wall they had built… and you can be sure their enemies were watching!

There is an important parallel here for those of us who know that we, too, are such a people of God. Like Nehemiah’s people, we are involved with Him in building the work of His hands. Inevitably this is opposed by those who are threatened by such a venture – with the greatest opposition coming, not from non-Christians, but from those who also claim to be God’s people.

Over the years, as Outreach International has emerged as a body of called and committed believers, most of the suspicion, derision and opposition directed at us has come from those within the Christian system who have a vested interest in perpetuating that system, rather than in doing God’s will.

“Who do these people think they are (they’re certainly not ‘one of us’)?”

“What makes them think they have a special call from God (how dare they be so sure)?”

“What can such a pathetic little band achieve anyway (we’re bigger, we’ve been around longer and we own the franchise)?”

“Why aren’t they part of the established Church (which is us, of course)?”

“They’re obviously a cult (that’s what we call any bunch we don’t like)!”

So run the statements of suspicion and derision from those who oppose not only us but any who dare live for God outside “the system.” It has always been so.

Yet not only do those called by God know who they are – more importantly, God knows who they are. “The Lord knows those who are his,” (2 Timothy 2:19) and because we build with God, we have great confidence in our wall and can confidently march along the top of it.

Picture it: God’s people marching along the top of the wall saying, “We believe in what we have built. We are committed to what we have built. We know this is not merely the work of our hands – it is the work of God’s hands… and we have built it with Him!”

Too Human

Religious people have always struggled with anything that appears too human. Like the Israelites before them, Christians have always had a problem with God’s way of choosing to work through ordinary human beings – for ordinary humans are just too flawed and fallible. They are especially unwilling to accept God’s authority expressed through a man – despite that fact that God always leads His people through men who are under His authority.

Many in the Christian system reject such leaders. They are, after all, so obviously human. How can they possibly be trusted? Hence many churches operate as democracies – with the majority firmly in control. They vote their pastors in and out and so remain in control. The pastor is their servant on their terms. They will pay him a salary and even supply him with a house, but if he doesn’t toe the line, he loses it all – he is out of a job! Which, of course, results in servants of men rather than in servants of God.

Those who are unwilling to accept God’s authority vested in men, are similarly unwilling to trust in the work of such men’s hands. No matter that they are godly men. All they see is flawed humanity – rather than the reality of the God behind the man.

Jesus failed to impress the men who were the pillars of the religious system. He was far too ordinary, too down-to-earth, He mixed with the wrong people and neither acted nor talked like a “holy” man. So he was suspect. Even among the many ordinary folk who clamored to be healed by Him, few committed themselves to Him. After all, even a miracle-worker is still only a man of flesh and blood, so take what he offers, by all means, but don’t trust in him.

You prove what you really believe about the work of godly men’s hands by the way you commit yourself to it. By the time Jesus was crucified, only a handful were left standing with Him on the wall He had built.

Faith In Action

There is a pertinent story about Blondin, the French tightrope walker of last century, who was renowned for performing the most hair-raising feats. He once walked along a cable stretched across Niagara Falls. Frightening enough in itself… but Blondin did it while pushing a wheelbarrow! As he reached the other side to the cheers and applause of a large crowd, one man in particular was especially loud in praising Blondin’s amazing feat. Singling him out, the Frenchman asked, “Do you believe I can walk back across the tightrope?” “Yes! Yes!” enthused the man. “Then get in the barrow!” commanded Blondin.

It’s easy to be part of the crowd – to give enthusiastic support – to subscribe to a cause – even to say you believe in a man’s calling or ministry. But will you commit? Are you prepared to get in that barrow?

Up until that point, Blondin’s enthusiastic fan doubtless thought he believed in the tightrope walker – but real belief has implications! He did not get into the barrow, and you can be sure he was a lot quieter after that.

It is easy for people to become excited by what a particular man or ministry is involved in. Over the years, many have voiced their support and belief in what I am doing but, by contrast, few have committed themselves to go with me. Personally, I am not interested in those who believe I am a man of God and agree with what I am doing… not unless they are also prepared to get in my barrow!

In God’s Kingdom, to believe is to commit. No commitment means no belief. It’s as simple as that.


There is a beautiful example of this in 1 Samuel chapter 14. Saul, king of Israel, having been originally chosen by God, soon proved to be a great disappointment. He certainly was no example of faith and godliness to his people. Happily, his son, Jonathan, was different.

One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man bearing his armour, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men. (1 Samuel 14:1 & 2)

God’s people were under threat by their enemies, the Philistines. King Saul was too afraid to lead his army against the enemy, so he and six hundred of his men were camped in a fearful huddle under a pomegranate tree.

His father may have been paralyzed by fear but Jonathan was not, and he could bear it no longer. So he urged his young armour-bearer to go with him on a foray among the Philistines. He knew it was pointless to tell his father because Saul would have instantly squashed the whole idea. Though Jonathan was not a rebellious son, he knew his father. This man, who should have been an example to his son and to his people had nothing to offer, so Jonathan simply left him out of it.

Jonathan said to his young armour-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” “Do all that you have in mind,” his armour-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.” (1 Samuel 14:6 & 7)

Here we see just one trained soldier declaring: “Why don’t we go over and see what we can do about these Philistines? Let’s give God a chance to do His stuff. He can do it, no matter how few of us there are!” That, alone, is a wonderful example of faith in action. But for that young man, who was not even a trained soldier, to unhesitatingly reply: “Go for it – I’m with you heart and soul!” – now there’s belief and commitment.

And what a team they were:

So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armour-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.” So Jonathan said to his armour-bearer, “Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel.” Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armour-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armour-bearer followed and killed behind him. In that first attack Jonathan and his armour-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre. Then panic struck the whole army – those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties – and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God. (1 Samuel 14:11-15)

Because Jonathan had faith in God, and because his armour-bearer believed in Jonathan’s faith in God, both of them set out on a “suicide” mission (for how else could it be described?) and that was all God needed to rout the Philistines. It was so simple – yet it needed a man of faith and at least one other who believed in him. What if the young man had said: “I admire you Jonathan. You’re a brave man and I support you in this venture – but if you don’t mind I’ll just wait back here. Your faith is an inspiration and I know God can do anything but you are just a man and what if you’re wrong?” Would his “belief” in Jonathan have really amounted to anything? Certainly, if Jonathan had gone out by himself and succeeded, the young man would have been able to say: “I was there. I saw it happen. I knew he could do it.” But so what? This needed costly – even suicidal – commitment.

In its early years, the Melbourne Outreach Crusade – later to become Outreach International – consisted of a “fellowship” (as we called it, because we thought it presumptuous to call it a church) which worshipped together and was also involved in evangelistic outreach, with me as its pastor. After awhile, it became obvious that some of those in the fellowship valued my ministry… but not my leadership: In effect, they were saying: Give us what you’ve got, but don’t expect us to commit ourselves to you as our leader! I knew God had gifted and called me, not only to minister but also to lead. Yet leaders need followers – and no one can follow other than by choice.

At one point I shared this situation with a visiting minister. His reply proved to be prophetic: “The day will come when God will give you armour-bearers – people like Jonathan’s armour-bearer, whose hearts will be like your heart.” And that’s just what happened.

Over the process of time, God has gathered around me those who, like Jonathan’s armour-bearer, are with me heart and soul. As this body – Outreach International – has been gathered, matured and refined by Him, I find I am sharing this call of God in every way. We are in it together. We are committed together. There are no spectators – with some marching on the wall while others cheer from a safe distance, with their feet on firm ground. Together we demonstrate our belief in what we are building, by the way we give ourselves to it.

This is what Nehemiah’s people expressed at the dedication of the wall, for they believed in what they had built. After marching around the top of the wall triumphantly, they met at the Temple and worshipped God, sacrificing to Him with great joy.

Ongoing Commitment

Yet for all this to continue, there were important things to attend to, as we read in verses 44-47:

At that time men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for the contributions, firstfruits and tithes. From the fields around the towns they were to bring into the storerooms the portions required by the Law for the priests and the Levites, for Judah was pleased with the ministering priests and Levites. They performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did also the singers and gatekeepers, according to the commands of David and his son Solomon. For long ago, in the days of David and Asaph, there had been directors for the singers and for the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. So in the days of Zerubbabel and of Nehemiah, all Israel contributed the daily portions for the singers and gatekeepers. They also set aside the portion for the other Levites, and the Levites set aside the portion for the descendants of Aaron.

Having demonstrated their belief in what they had built, and their commitment to it, they now moved to ensure that things went on from there. Rather than depend on the impetus generated by the enthusiasm of the day, they organised themselves so as to make sure the revival continued.

Central to this was the functioning of the Temple. The Temple staff – Levites, priests, singers, musicians, gatekeepers – all had to be looked after. God had prescribed the way for this to be done, through the giving of the people. This, together with the rest of the Temple operation, needed planning and organization.

If you build something for God, then just walk away from it – expecting it to somehow run itself – it will soon become empty and derelict. These people were saying: “Now that we have put so much into building this for God, let’s be diligent to see that it keeps going, so that God can continue to be glorified among us.” Having initially identified with God’s desire to have Jerusalem rebuilt, they were now identifying with the purpose of that desire: for His people to dwell in that place, with Him in their midst.

God dwells not in Time, but in Eternity where there is no time – no beginning and no end. In Eternity, everything continues… forever. When we relate to God, we relate to the God of Eternity – the God of constancy and continuity. He is the everlasting, everliving God, and that which we build with Him is meant to glorify Him forever.

Such constancy and continuity are not characteristic of human nature. Our tendency is to pick things up and put them down as and when it suits us. We prefer to do things at our whim and convenience. Hence, the most meaningful encounters between God and man usually take place around man’s needs and desires. When the need for God is there, or men perceive that He can fulfil their desires, they reach out to Him. Once their needs have been met and their desires satisfied, how quickly they regard it all as something which was just for a certain time or for a particular situation. Soon it becomes a mere memory – even if in the form of a “testimony” or a “glory story”, with which to impress others.

To look back with a warm glow at a time when God did this or that for you, rather than to be living now in the light and reality of it, is to relegate present reality to that comfortable place called past history.

That which took place between us and God in the past was intended to remain as part of our relationship with Him from then on.

Nehemiah and his people now had both a strong wall around their city and God’s Temple in its midst. Having given profuse thanks for that, they then set things in motion to ensure these wonderful achievements did not merely slip into the annals of their history. They made it their business to keep on investing themselves so as to ensure the continuation of what they had built.

Some so-called “spiritual” people are fearful of anything that looks like organization. So they don’t organize anything in the belief that God will look after everything. Which would be fine if God had not made us responsible for anything! But He has given us responsibilities, and He will not do that which He has given us to do.

God did not send a work crew of angels to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall (He could have). So important was that project to Him that He wanted to share it with men. God loves to involve us in those things which are dear to His heart. He wants us to feel as He does about them and He longs for us to invest ourselves in them. Yet we must not only be aware of what He initially calls us to, but we must also take hold of what we are ongoingly responsible for.

This has no appeal to those who would much rather be free to come and go – doing as they please, when they please. God calls us to be like plants – putting down roots and blooming in the place He has planted us; but they prefer to be more like bees – flitting from place to place, from blessing to blessing, from experience to experience. Such Christians (and this generation has spawned many) are the spiritually promiscuous, who prefer the “one night stand” to the marriage commitment.

The only guarantee that the Temple would go on fulfilling its function was in God’s people making it their responsibility. Having built it, they did not simply turn it over to God saying, “We’ve done our part, now you can look after it. It’s up to you now if you want it to continue.” Instead, they said, “God, you have given us this place and made it our responsibility, so now we are going to make sure it continues.”

Mere Men

God is committed to perfect His kingdom through imperfect people, which has always been a problem… to people.

In Old Testament days, the Israelites consistently rejected those He sent to bring them His word and lead them in His way. They were too ordinary, too flawed, too human. In the light of their humanity, the authority they claimed and the power of their words was offensive. As we have already noted, the same happened with Jesus, for He looked too much like the son of man to be the Son of God.

The sixty-six books which make up the Bible were all written by men. To those who have a problem with flawed humanity, this should be a frightening thought. But they have a way of deflecting it. Yes, they agree, they were mere men but what they wrote was infallible because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. But what does that mean? Did they lose their humanity under divine inspiration? Did God – who from the beginning chose to be glorified through humanity – resort to dehumanising those men, because He was afraid they might make mistakes? Let’s be real! It is men – not God – who fear mistakes.

Yes, the Scriptures were written by godly men, but they were also ordinary men – men who make mistakes – who get details wrong – who forget exactly which day a certain thing happened – who (oh no!) don’t always get the quote right. None of that is a problem to God. He loves humanity. He embraces it. He believes in it. He made it! The humanity of the Scripture writers is a problem only to those who have a problem with humanity. It was such men who concocted the fairy tale which would have us believe that, whenever a man sat down to write something which was later to become Scripture, he became some sort of automaton – devoid of humanity, mysteriously controlled by the Holy Spirit, and unable to write anything short of sheer perfection!

Such a belief in scriptural infallibility does not do credit to the Scripture itself – it is merely a bizarre example of man’s struggle with his own fallibility!

Most of us struggle with our own imperfections – which can be hindrance enough, but the extent of your struggle with your own imperfections will be reflected in your view of other, imperfect people (and aren’t they all?).

It is all too easy for us to look at ourselves and at others, and be very aware of the flaws and lacks of imperfect humanity. We ask: “Can I be trusted?” We look at others and ask the same question. But God says: “I want to be glorified in you. Will you allow Me to take your imperfection and, through it, work out My perfect will?” He has deliberately chosen to be glorified in human flesh.

Jesus came, not as a superman but as a mere man – demonstrating how God desires to be glorified through men. Yet it was Jesus’ very humanity which was a stumbling block to men.

Don’t be afraid of human frailty – neither yours nor that of those around you – and don’t devalue God’s Temple because of the humanity of its living stones. They are His chosen building blocks and He has placed them there. Far from this being a case of God “making do” with inadequate materials, these are the very materials He has chosen! He wants to be glorified through ordinary people like you and me.

Paul wrote: “Christ in you [is] the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) This is the wonder of God’s plan: that He indwells mortal men, making our bodies the temples of His Spirit; and that He gathers such men together into a spiritual Body – a living Temple – in which He is glorified.

People And Problems

Speaking of flawed humanity, we now move on to the 13th, and final, chapter of Nehemiah. Here we are confronted with some sobering realities about these people who had, to date, achieved so much.

Where there are people there are problems – a fact which anyone in ministry or leadership in God’s Church must face. In my early years I held the rather idealistic view that once a person got a “right relationship” with God he would soon be free of his own problems and would not be a problem in the church. If everyone did the right thing all the time (is that too much to ask?) then surely the church would be problem-free!

With the passing of time and experience, my idealism gave way to realism. I was helped in this by seeing so graphically portrayed in the Bible the kinds of problem people, and people problems, which the apostle Paul had to address. Great man of God that he was, his churches were far from problem-free, yet he never ceased to give himself to them and to represent his God.

There is, of course, a fundamental difference between problem people and people problems. The former must be dealt with rather than lived with. The latter are a fact of life and their existence is not a problem in itself. In fact it could well be said that, no matter how many problems exist in a church, there are no real problems – provided those concerned will receive correction and direction. In a family, one does not look for impeccably behaved children, but for those who respond to the authority of their parents. If they are under authority and respond to direction and correction, all will be well.

The book of Nehemiah is no glamourised account. It is down-to-earth and realistic. It openly shows all: the good, the bad and the ugly. If it only had 12 chapters, it would have ended on a high note with the wall dedicated, the Temple organized and the people all living happily ever after. But that is not the end of the story. With everything in place, with everything in order, there were things which came to light… and which had to be addressed.

First among these was the enemy within.

No Place For Opposition

On that day the Book of Moses was read aloud in the hearing of the people and there it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be admitted into the assembly of God, because they had not met the Israelites with food and water but had hired Balaam to call a curse down on them. (Our God, however, turned the curse into a blessing.) When the people heard this law, they excluded from Israel all who were of foreign descent.

Instead of helping the Israelites as they crossed the desert on their way to the Promised Land, the Moabites and Ammonites had opposed them. Conspiring against them, they had hired Balaam, a corruptible prophet, to curse them. God intervened, though, and every time Balaam opened his mouth to utter a curse, he ended up pronouncing a blessing – to the great chagrin of his clients!

So the Israelites were blessed instead of cursed, yet God still had a bone to pick with the Moabites and Ammonites and had commanded that they should never be allowed to dwell among the Israelites. Finding this written in the Book of Moses, Nehemiah’s people moved quickly, expelling all foreigners.

God’s two consuming passions are for His own glory and for the welfare of His people. From the time the Moabites and Ammonites violated the second of those, they were unwelcome among God’s people – for there is no place among the people of God for those who oppose their welfare and progress. Those who are being led by God are His people and, just as in the case of the Israelites crossing the desert, their welfare and progress are of utmost concern to Him, so anyone who opposes them comes under God’s judgement.

But could there be such “foreigners” in the Church? There certainly are, and in many ways they blend in – much as the foreigners must have in Jerusalem. Yet they are not in accord with God’s purposes and, worse, they stand against the welfare and progress of those who are obeying God.

Put into Jesus’ terminology, the “foreigners” in our midst could also be thought of as goats among the sheep. Like goats, they are typically wilful, independent and despise the sheep-like approach of true disciples. But God’s Church is not a goat-pen, it is a sheepfold, and a good shepherd will always make it his business to identify and deal with any goats who have made their home among his flock.

In 1974, I was invited to pastor a well established church in Canada, which had a number of successful businessmen on its board. These men liked things done their way and, in their church, they liked things just the way they were. In accepting their invitation, I declined a salary, as had been paid to previous pastors. I wished to be a shepherd, not a hireling. The board were accustomed to holding the purse strings and regarding the pastor as their employee – but I was God’s employee, and I was happy to leave it to Him to provide for me. I was not for hire and, as God’s man I wanted to be free to bring God’s word to that church. And just as well, for before long I had some strong words to bring to them. Among other things, I pointed out to that there were some among them who needed to either get right with God or get out of the church.

Effectively these were goats who needed to either repent and become sheep, or they should leave the sheep pen. Despite the fact that these people were like a spiritual cancer in that church, my ultimatum was strongly resisted by some, with one of the most influential members saying to me: “But this is the Church! Everyone and anyone should be able to come here and feel at home!”

While it may be true that anyone may visit the church (and even that should not be unqualified), it is far from true that anyone can stay. Many may visit my house, but that does not mean I will invite them to move in. A murderer might come to my door but, when I find out what he has in mind, he is not likely to be asked to join the family!

It is not a matter of who is in the church but, rather, why are they there? “I urge you, brothers,” wrote Paul, “to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.” (Roman 16:17).

Not only should we be uncompromising with those who cause problems in the church, but we should also be tough on those things within ourselves and others which hinder God. “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:12-13).

If we allow ourselves to get away with sin and unbelief, we soon become hardened. If you do hard work with tender hands you will get blisters. Keep at it and the blisters soon turn into callouses, as your skin protects itself by thickening in that area. Which is what happens if we continue in sin and unbelief. After a while your once-tender conscience becomes calloused and insensitive.

The deceitfulness of sin – which says: “It’s alright. You can do it and get away with it,” or: “Go ahead, indulge yourself – God will always forgive you,” – hardens men’s hearts so they no longer feel the pangs of their once-tender consciences. Once that happens, it is no longer difficult to turn away from the living God.

We are responsible to not only be tough on ourselves, but also to keep one another up to the mark. Any one of us is capable of turning away from God – if we are foolish enough to flirt with sin’s deceitfulness.

We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. (Hebrews 3:14-19).

These were the people God had rescued triumphantly out of Egypt. He led them out of their slavery to take them not to the desert, but through the desert – and into the Promised Land. On the way, He tested them in the desert – and they were found wanting. Again and again He gave them opportunities to receive His words and to trust Him, yet they hardened their hearts and refused. Finally, He said: “You cannot go into the Promised Land. You will stay in the desert till you die.”

What a clear warning that is to all of us! No matter how much we receive from God, no matter how much He blesses us, we ultimately share in Jesus only if we hold firmly till the end what we had at the beginning.

We all experience ups and downs. We have bad days as well as good days. There are times and circumstances which stretch us to the limit and there are situations which we feel are just too much for us to handle. Nevertheless, God’s word is clear: if you do not endure to the end, you blow it!

Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. (Hebrews 12:12-16).

It is all too easy for us to focus on our own weakness and say: “I can’t do it. I would if I could, but I can’t… so I won’t.” It’s also easy to expect God to do for you what He tells you to do. He says: “You strengthen your weak hands and your feeble knees. You make level paths for your feet!”

So it is clear that we are not to accommodate anyone who is a hindrance to God’s people. Nor are we to tolerate anything within ourselves which hinders us in following Jesus.

Intolerance Of Evil

Worse still than the presence of foreigners among the Israelites was the welcome extended to an enemy – as we see further in chapter 13:

Before this, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God. He was closely associated with Tobiah and he had provided him with a large room formerly used to store the grain offerings and incense and temple articles, and also the tithes of grain, new wine and oil prescribed for the Levites, singers and gatekeepers, as well as the contributions for the priests.

Not only was Tobiah an Ammonite, he was also an arch enemy of Nehemiah and his people. As we saw earlier, it was he who had ridiculed the wall-building effort in its early stages and he, Sanballat and Geshem were the trio who led opposition to the rebuilding of Jerusalem. They had hatched plots, made threats and threatened violence, in an increasingly vociferous attempt to prevent the completion of the wall. Tobiah was a sworn enemy of everything Nehemiah stood for. Yet, here, we find him not only basking in the hospitality of Eliashib the priest, but actually living in the Temple!

Eliashib, who was related by marriage to Tobiah, had accommodated this enemy of God’s people in a room which had been originally set aside for the storage of offerings and contributions for the sustenance of the Temple staff. How could this have taken place? So soon before, the people had all agreed to maintain the Temple and see to it that God was given His offerings and the Temple staff their keep. Yet now, God and the welfare of His ministers becomes secondary to the comfort of one of His enemies!

How could Nehemiah have allowed this to happen? Of course he would not have, but he was out of town at the time:

But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Some time later I asked his permission and came back to Jerusalem. Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done in providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the house of God. I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room. I gave orders to purify the rooms, and then I put back into them the equipment of the house of God, with the grain offerings and the incense.

After all the sweat, toil and danger of building the wall; after the purifying of the people and their expressed passion to live for God; after the excitement of the wall dedication and the commitment to maintain the Temple for God’s glory; you would think Nehemiah could confidently leave Jerusalem – at least for awhile. Surely these people had by now come so far. Surely they had both the will and the wherewithal to keep living as God’s people. Surely…!?

Sadly, the scenario is an all-too-familiar one. So long as Nehemiah was there, and in charge, things kept going in the right direction. As time went on, it appeared that the people were becoming increasingly self-sustaining in their relationship with God. Yet once Nehemiah was out of town it did not take long for things to go downhill.

No doubt Eliashib rationalised what he had done. Perhaps he thought Nehemiah – while a great leader – was rather too tough and uncompromising. After all, one must be “Christian” about these things, mustn’t one? Why not let bygones be bygones? “Tobiah’s not such a bad guy (besides, he’s a relative). I just wanted to show him there were no hard feelings.”

Nehemiah was incensed. He threw all Tobiah’s goods out of the room, then ordered it to be purified and returned to its rightful function in God’s Temple.

Tobiah was an enemy of God’s people. He embodied the devil’s opposition to God’s purposes. Giving him a place in the Temple was the same as inviting Satan to make himself at home there. What Eliashib had done could never be justified.

Whereas man’s tendency is to rationalise and compromise, God is absolute. He never tolerates evil – for He knows its source. The devil can appear as an angel of shining light and successfully deceive many, but God is not deceived. He knows His enemy all too well.

In Ephesians 4:27, Paul warns: “do not give the devil a foothold.” To give him a foothold is to make room for him – just as Eliashib did for Tobiah.

Do you give Satan room – even if it’s just a foothold? If so, like Eliashib, you are without excuse. As one of God’s people, you know your enemy and, as Paul once asserted: “…we are not unaware of his schemes.” (2 Corinthians 2:11). Eliashib knew full well the kind of man Tobiah was and the kind of schemes he plotted – but he turned a blind eye to all that. Because we, too, know our enemy, to give him any sort of foothold is foolishness of the most dangerous kind – especially because a foothold is only the beginning!

Our enemy is vicious and totally unscrupulous. As Peter warned: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). To mess with him is as stupid as attempting to strike up a relationship with a ravenous man-eating lion who has only one thing in mind. Toying with temptation is no game. To flirt with it is to flirt with death. To keep company with evil is to make the devil your companion.

The devil is real and powerful. He is also cunning, and knows the various means by which he can trap you – and these he will employ unscrupulously. It is your responsibility to be aware of how you can fall into sin – and to always give those traps a wide berth. If you know something is a trap for you, then keep away from it. If, like Eve, you have a weakness for delicious-looking, wisdom-producing fruit, which God has said is not for you, then don’t go wandering up the garden path for an eyeful!

The Temple was a holy place. In fact is was the Holy Place – God’s dwelling-place on Earth. Holy means exclusively set aside for God, yet Eliashib saw fit to provide in that holy place a large, comfortable room for God’s enemy. No wonder Nehemiah was furious!


Just as the Temple was holy, so must we be – both individually and corporately.

Individually, our bodies have become the temples of the Holy Spirit. He dwells in us and He insists on our holiness as much as He insisted on the Temple’s. Each of us who have received God’s Spirit have, in so doing, offered our bodies to be His dwelling-place. If, like Eliashib, you defile that dwelling-place by giving place to evil, you defile God’s temple.

Corporately, we have been gathered together by God and built into a temple far more glorious than any before it. We are a holy temple for our God, and the implications are very sobering: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” (1 Corinthians 3:16 & 17).

Holiness is separation. It is being set aside for God, just as a husband and wife set themselves aside for one another in an exclusive relationship which, by its very nature, excludes all others.

As in the exclusiveness of marriage, holiness means making it your business to see that nothing comes between yourself and God. We are holy because we have been separated by Him, to Him and for Him. In this life of holiness, whatever is unacceptable to God must be unacceptable to you. There can be no place in our lives or our church for “Tobiahs” who are opposed to God.

Neglect Of Worship

Unfortunately Tobiah’s residence in the Temple was not the only misdemeanour which Nehemiah discovered on returning to Jerusalem:

I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and singers responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields. So I rebuked the officials and asked them, “Why is the house of God neglected?” Then I called them together and stationed them at their posts.

All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and oil into the storerooms. I put Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah in charge of the storerooms and made Hanan son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant, because these men were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their brothers. Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.

Not only had Tobiah occupied the room in the Temple set aside for storing the tithes and offerings, which provided food for the staff, but the people had reneged on their pledge to make sure there was always ample provision to keep the Temple running. In such a short time the centrality of the Temple – and therefore of God – had been abandoned.

The essence of worship is the offering of yourself – all that you are, all of the time – to God. As the centre of worship in Israel, running the Temple was a very costly operation. It was intended to be, for God can never be worshipped on the cheap. The people knew this well. They knew that God must be honoured on His terms. They had seen what the neglect of God and His House had brought upon Israel in the past, and had determined never to let that happen again – and they had pledged themselves in writing, saying: “We will not neglect the House of our God,” – yet here, already, that is just what they were doing.

God is so totally faithful, whereas men are so endemically fickle! Give them a crisis; a strong, godly leader; a goal and a purpose; and you may well see a revival. But will it continue? In this case, what looked so good and promising such a short time earlier had already lost its impetus – receding like a once-mighty wave after it has reached the shore.

The determination to keep the Temple running at all costs had soon evaporated, as the people began to count the cost… and as they realised Nehemiah was not around to keep them to their words. They became slack in their giving, so the Levites and singers decided that, as they were not being adequately supported, they would leave the Temple and provide for themselves by working in their fields. Hence the worship of God was abandoned in favour of self-interest.

Some in the church feel it is their leader’s responsibility to keep them up to the mark. “If I get a bit slack, the pastor will let me know, then I’ll get my act together.” That’s fine for children who do not know any better, but for mature people…? In these Last Days, God has called together and refined a mature people. He looks to us, not as little children who get caught up in the excitement and enthusiasm of the moment, but as sons who not only make promises and commitments but who also keep them.

If you have freely embraced God’s call to be one of His chosen people, why should anyone ever have to keep you up to it? Is it not shameful for you to expect someone else to keep you up to the mark?

Can you imagine how heartbreaking it must have been for Nehemiah? Here he was, completely sold out to God, and here were his people – who had so recently pledged undying faithfulness – once more driven by self-interest.

No doubt their excuses were plausible:

Well, we had a bad year and, really, we would have given to God, but we just didn’t have enough.

If we had given we would not have been able to feed the family – and a man’s got to look after his family y’know.

It’s not a big deal really, is it? I mean the Levites can go out and work in their fields.

The Temple will be okay – we’ll get back to honouring our commitments before too long.

Plausible? Yes. Valid? No! There is never an excuse for withholding from God that which is rightfully His – especially when we have promised to give it.

When true worship – the costly giving of ourselves to God – becomes burdensome, it’s time to find out why. Though it is intended to be costly, it is not intended to be burdensome. Giving ourselves to God should be a most joyous and freeing experience.

Human nature says: when something is a burden, rid yourself of it. God says: if living for Him is burdensome, find out where you have gone wrong and do some repenting. His requirements are never a burden for those who know Him, love Him and live only for Him.

Giving To God

Paul once wrote some pointed words about the kind of attitude God looks for in those who give: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

Giving to God must always be done freely and without strings attached. Picture this: if, in some place where the church gathers to worship, there was a bottomless pit into which the people were invited to drop their offerings to God – just for it to disappear into that hole and be wasted – how many would give? And if they gave, how much would they give and for how long would they keep doing it? If, in such a situation, you could not cheerfully open your wallet, take out a handful of money and say, “God, I’m giving this to You,” you have yet to learn what it means to give to God freely and cheerfully.

You cannot give to God unless your focus is on God, for your giving must be for His sake alone. You give to Him because of who He is and what He is worthy of. You should not need something “constructive” or “worthwhile” to give to. If it happens that what you give has a particular application, that’s fine, but you should not need something like that as a focus for your giving. You need no focus other than God Himself.

In the case of the Temple, God directed that some of the offerings should be used to run it and support the staff. This is also often the case in the Church. There are expenses to be met and full-time workers to be supported, so you have the privilege of seeing some of your giving go towards these expenses. But meeting expenses should not be why you give to God.

All true godly giving – whether of money or anything else – is always Godward. It appears that Nehemiah’s people degenerated into seeing it simply as money for the running of the Temple, for the support of the Levites and singers, and so on. Looking at it that way, they could rationalise their lack of giving without feeling they were neglecting their worship of God.

It took their faithful leader Nehemiah to remind them of the real issues – to get the Temple staff back from their fields and to get the people once more bringing their tithes and offerings.

But there was yet more amiss in Jerusalem, as Nehemiah soon discovered.

Obedience... A Matter Of Convenience?

In those days I saw men in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day. Men from Tyre who lived in Jerusalem were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them in Jerusalem on the Sabbath to the people of Judah. I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing – desecrating the Sabbath day? Didn’t your forefathers do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity upon us and upon this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath.”

As one of the Ten Commandments, keeping the Sabbath was fundamental to Israel’s obedience to God. They knew very well that the seventh day of every week was holy and a day of rest. God had plainly said: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.” (Exodus 20:8-10). Yet here they were: treading winepresses and loading sacks of produce onto their donkeys. Plainly, they were working and plainly they were violating God’s commandment. Somehow they rationalised it. Why? Because it suited them.

So recently they had laid a new foundation in their relationship with God – pledging to return to His ways and to live by His Law – yet here they were, doing just as their fathers had done: reducing obedience to a matter of convenience. “You don’t really have to do exactly as God says. After all, you have to be realistic. There are things to be done and if you can’t get them all done in six days… well, God isn’t too fussed if you do a bit on the Sabbath.”

The nearby heathen were quick to capitalise on the Israelites’ Sabbath slackness. In no time at all traders from Tyre were setting up Sabbath markets in Jerusalem and doing a roaring trade. It’s a little easier to envisage how the people rationalised that one: “It’s not really our fault. It’s just that these foreigners come into town and set up their stalls and – well – they have really nice fish and surely God wouldn’t mind us doing a teensy bit of food shopping.”

But God never says anything He does not mean – and He expects to be taken very, very seriously! Once you know what He has said, no amount of rationalisation can change it. He said it and He means it. If you fail to do as He says, you have disobeyed Him. It’s as simple as that.

There may be times – as there doubtless are for all of us – when you wish He had not spoken to you about something, but if He said it and you know He said it, your choice is simple: to obey or not to obey – that is the question! And there is no such thing as part-obedience. You either do as He says, or you don’t.

Many there are who know God’s word to them, but few there are who uncompromisingly live in obedience to that word. Why? Simply because such unquestioning, absolute obedience is inconvenient – it does not suit them. While many love to hear from God, few love to obey Him unconditionally.

In this matter, there can be no mitigating circumstances. Those Sabbath-breakers may well have pleaded that they were doing nothing more than what was necessary – such as buying just enough to feed their families. Would God condemn them for simply meeting their legitimate needs? But needs are not the issue here – it is priorities. When pleasing God is our priority, we place Him before even the most legitimate need.

If you have a compromising attitude to obeying God, there is always someone at hand to cater to it. The men of Tyre were not to blame, they simply took the opportunity that was there. Had God’s people been absolute about obeying Him, there would have been no Sabbath trading in the first place.

Likewise, It’s no use blaming the devil for leading you into sin if he is merely capitalising on your slackness towards God’s word in the first place. What do you expect? Just like the traders of Tyre, he will not miss any opportunity you foolishly offer

Look at how categorical Jesus was:

Large crowds were travelling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:”If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?

“If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 14:25-35).

Jesus’ statement about salt makes the point well. If salt ceases to be salty it is manifestly useless. If we do not uncompromisingly follow Jesus as true disciples, living in obedience to Him, our lives are a total waste. We were created for Him alone and without the “saltiness” of total obedience to God we are as useless as saltless salt.

It’s simple really. Do you want to follow Jesus on His terms? If so, it will cost you everything. Do you want to follow Him on your terms? Don’t bother! He is not interested in your terms and conditions. Either you are His disciple – on His terms – or you are not. Forget what suits you – it’s all about what suits Him, for He alone is Lord.

Nehemiah’s relationship with God was on those terms – and for awhile he had been under the impression that his people felt the same way. It’s hardly surprising, then, that he was so angry to find that what he thought was absolute obedience was really the obedience of convenience.

Godless Commitments

This was a hard time for Nehemiah. Wherever he turned he found that his people had virtually torn up the agreement they had made with God. But there was yet another bitter blow in store:

Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah. I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in God’s name and said: “You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves. Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?”

One of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib the high priest was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite. And I drove him away from me. 

Not only had these people turned their backs on their commitment to God, they had also made other commitments – binding ones – for they had married heathen women. This incensed Nehemiah. Angrily he cursed them, beat some of them and even pulled out their hair. Then he turned on one of Eliashib’s grandsons, who had married Sanballat’s daughter, and chased him away!

Nehemiah’s discouragement must have been great: “Was it all for nothing?” he must have wondered. But then he remembered Who he did it for in the first place… and he turned to Him:

Remember them, O my God, because they defiled the priestly office and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.

So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task. I also made provision for contributions of wood at designated times, and for the firstfruits.

Remember me with favor, O my God.

This had all begun with Nehemiah, a slave in the faraway palace of King Artaxerxes, making himself available to God. Now, after all that had taken place, it was God he once more turned to. For awhile he had been able to draw strength and encouragement from the people who identified with his calling and seemed to give themselves to it as he did. Now he drew, once more, from the true fountain of strength and encouragement: his relationship with his God.

Then, with his commitment renewed, Nehemiah got on with sorting out the apostate priests who had blatantly violated their godly calling by marrying heathen women. They had not kept themselves separate from those who were not God’s people, as He had instructed.

This principle of separation applies to us even more than to those priests. Peter clearly spelt out the nature of our priestly calling: “…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9).

Jesus has called us to be the greatest example there has ever been of a people of God on this Earth. Not only are we, like Israel, a chosen people but we are also priests. Yet not only priests (an immense privilege in itself) but royal priests. In Israel there could only be one king and, even then, no man was permitted to be both priest and king. Yet, as royal priests, we are both! Not only that (can there be more?), but we royal priests are also a holy nation belonging to God.

It is precisely because of such a wonderful, privileged calling that our separation to God is of far greater importance than was the separation of Israel’s priests. If it was anathema for them to enter into binding commitments with unbelievers, how much more is it for us?

Paul put it graphically:

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

“Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

There is, literally, a world of difference between the normal involvements of living in this world and the entanglements – or binding commitments – spoken of here. There is nothing wrong with living in this world (do we have a choice?), but there is something very wrong when this world lives in you!

James did not mince his words when addressing those who were entangled with the world: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4).

Which was Paul’s point, in his statement above, when he drew the sharp contrast between righteousness and wickedness, light and darkness, Christ and Belial, believers and unbelievers, God’s temple and idols. Each of these has nothing in common with the other. More than merely being opposites, they are in opposition. To be received by God as His sons and daughters requires that we come out, be separate and touch no unclean thing. Compromise on that, as most do, and you defile the purity of your godly calling.

This separation must take place from the inside out. It is not primarily a matter of where you go, what you do, or who you mix with. Rather, it is a matter of you being separated to God in your heart. Then that which is on the inside will be expressed on the outside – in the places you go, the things you do and the people you mix with.

How nice it would have been to close this series on a “happy ever after” note. I’m sure Nehemiah would have liked it that way too! Instead we are faced with the all too common, true-life reality of the gulf between God’s desires for His people and their desires for themselves.

Whenever people lay down their own desires and take up God’s, great things are accomplished. For those people build with Him. But if they then resurrect their own desires and try to fulfil them as well as God’s, it all changes. That which they once built together with Him is abandoned and once more God finds himself bereft – without His people and alone with His desires. Well, almost alone. Happily there are always men like Nehemiah, for whom departure from God’s way is unthinkable. Such are the true friends of God.

God has never yet given up hope. He still seeks those who will give themselves unreservedly – to live their lives for Him and to give their lives for the sheer privilege of pleasing Him.

Such are the ones who build with God.

About The Author

Tony Kostas was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1941, where at the age of seventeen, he committed his life to Jesus at a Billy Graham Crusade. In 1967 he founded the Melbourne Outreach Crusade, a non-denominational evangelistic outreach. This later grew into Outreach International, which is now a worldwide body of believers, who share a God-given calling and are committed to live in love with Him and with one another.

Tony’s life is a true expression of all that God has revealed to him throughout the years, in its purity and focus on loving God. His passion is for God to have the desire of His hears: a people who truly represent Him because they are His and His alone.