Posted by: rcottrill | December 6, 2017

Jesus, Still Lead On

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (b. May 26, 1700; d. May 9, 1760)
Music: Seelenbräutigam, by Adam Drese (b. Dec. ___, 1620; d. Feb. 15, 1701)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Count von Zinzendorf)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Nikolaus von Zinzendorf was born into aristocracy and wealth in Germany, but from boyhood he had a desire to be a follower of Christ, and bring others to Him. Submitting to the wishes of his family, he trained as a lawyer, but that was not to be his life’s work. When he married, in 1722, he and his wife agreed to lay aside their rank and give themselves to winning others to the Saviour. Zinzendorf also wrote about two thousand hymns.

A follower is literally one who comes after. The word may have been passed down to us from the Old English term full-gan, meaning full going. This can refer to an individual traveling on behind the one in front, from one place to another. But we more commonly use it as a synonym for a disciple, and mean someone who accepts the teaching and authority of another.

Evolutionist Charles Darwin (1809-1882), whose Godless theories came to be called Darwinism, has had many followers in the latter sense, including British author H. G. Wells. Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and Freudism significantly influenced the theories of psychiatrists Carl Jung and Alfred Adler. The political theories of Chinese Communist Mao Zedong (1893-1976), later called Maoism, have been reproduced in many other countries, including Cambodia and Bangladesh.

Disciple and follower are, of course, words the Bible uses too, many times, particularly in the four Gospels, and the book of Acts, where believers become disciples and followers of Jesus Christ. The term disciple translates the Greek word mathetes, from which we get our word mathematics. It suggests a disciplined course of study, and the Lord makes it clear that learning from Him will also involve serving Him and labouring on His behalf. Jesus said:

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mk. 10:45). And, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (Jn. 13:15).

A disciple, then, is what we could call a learner-servant of Christ. And we are summoned, not only to preach the gospel and call others to put their faith in Christ, but to enlist them too as His learner-servants: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19).

Christians are followers of Christ. The Gospels show the Lord calling others to Him for that purpose.

“He said to them [fishermen named Peter and Andrew], ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men [in other words, disciple-makers]’” (Matt. 4:19).

And we see them doing that in Acts, beginning in Jerusalem, where “the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly” (Acts 6:7). Later a new term was introduced: “The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).

This leads us to look at a remarkable man. During a time of religious persecution, Zinzendorf offered his estate as a refuge for Moravian believers fleeing their oppressors. He and another man, a carpenter named Christian David, built the village of Herrnhut (meaning the Lord’s Shelter) as a religious community that grew to about six hundred people. Later, learning of the need for a gospel witness in America and the West Indies, and elsewhere, the Moravians began sending out missionaries.

It was through meeting Moravians that John and Charles Wesley were converted. Another thing that linked them together was a great love of hymns, and an awareness of their importance in ministry. Charles Wesley wrote many, and so did Count von Zinzendorf. Best known is the latter’s hymn Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness, translated from German into English by John Wesley. But another of Zinzendorf’s songs speaks of being a follower of Christ.

(The word “fatherland” refers to one’s native country. Zinzendorf uses it in the hymn as a term for heaven, the Christian’s native land through the new birth (cf. Phil. 3:20).)

CH-1) Jesus, still lead on, till our rest be won,
And, although the way be cheerless,
We will follow calm and fearless,
Guide us by Thy hand to our fatherland.

CH-2) If the way be drear, if the foe be near,
Let no faithless fears o’ertake us,
Let not faith and hope forsake us,
For through many a woe to our home we go.

CH-4) Jesus, still lead on, till our rest be won;
Heavenly Leader, still direct us,
Still support, control, protect us,
Till we safely stand in our fatherland.

Questions:
1) What has it meant in your own life to be a “follower” of Christ?

2) Zinzendorf speaks of times when the way is “cheerless,” and of going through “many a woe.” How do these things relate to your own experience? (And how has the Lord sustained you then?)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Count von Zinzendorf)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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