“A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35.
One distinguishing mark of a true Christian is that they have love for one another, as stated in John 13:35. Sadly, this mark seems to be lacking in the churches of our day. What does a Christ loving church look like? What factors would bring it about? Let’s look at an example of a Christ centered church.
The Moravian church is a model that we can glean from. When the thirty-year war broke out in 1618 the Catholic armies destroyed the Bohemian army at the battle of White Mountain. The kingdom was re-Catholicized. Protestant schools were closed, and the protestant noblemen were executed or exiled. Many went into exile throughout northern Europe. Through the years this group continued to be persecuted. Known for helping those in need, Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf was entreated for assistance in 1720. Count Zinzendorf gave the exiles permission to settle on his land.
When Zinzendorf was a youth, he had a life changing encounter with the Lord. In the family gallery hung a painting of the Crucified Savior. He stared at it for many hours. He beheld blood dripping from every wound, love glowing from every tear and grace shining in every brushstroke. At the bottom of the painting were inscribed the words “This is what I have done for you, what will you do for me?” Falling to his knees Zinzendorf, cried and with all his heart promised to glorify the Lamb the rest of his life. Out of his love for Christ flowed a love for prayer.
The exiled settlors formed a small community on Zinzendorf’s estate. Unfortunately, the town was soon divided into factions over theological differences which brought about dissension, bitterness, and judgement against one another. When Zinzendorf heard what was happening, he went to preach the cross of Christ. After a meeting led by Zinzendorf, the town came to a consensus and signed what was called the Brotherly Agreement, to dedicate their lives to the service of Jesus Christ. It was at this point the Holy Spirit began to move among them. The small community began to meet in prayer and worship. By emptying themselves of pride and uniting in one accord, came about a mighty revival known as the Moravian Pentecost. They received the love of God in their hearts, and it gave them a baptism of love for one another.
The Lord spoke to Zinzendorf from Leviticus 6:13 that “The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.” This inspired the formation of a prayer group consisting at first of 24 men and 24 women. These individuals covenanted to pray an hour a day, thus creating a 24-hour, seven day a week, prayer chain. This prayer chain would last over 100 years. From this commitment, the love for the lost and perishing grew. The influence of these humble Moravian believers has been felt throughout the world. Missionaries were sent out, serving as Christ led. Some were led to the leprosy camps in India and South Africa. Some sold themselves into slavery to reach the slaves in the West Indies. No sacrifice was too great.
The Moravians had a deep impact on notable individuals such as John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement. He was so impressed with his visit to the Moravians that he commented in his journal “I would gladly have spent my life here… Oh, when shall this Christianity cover the earth as water covers the sea?” Further, it was two Moravian sisters that shaped the Bonhoeffer family’s love of Jesus, influencing the young Dietrich.
When will we, the Bride of Christ, put aside our pride and petty differences, repent and humble ourselves? When will we, like Zinzendorf, look to our Bridegroom hanging on the cross? Brethren, Jesus is calling, it is time to pray.
God bless you friends,