Read I John 1:1-11
Because of my husband’s partial blindness, sometimes he has difficulty finding his way around the house at night. So I leave a soft light on in every room just to make sure he can more easily see where he wants to go without stumbling or stepping on something. It can be hard to see in the dark.
In Scripture, darkness symbolizes God’s judgment. When God judged Egypt because of Pharaoh’s refusal to obey His command to let the Israelites go, He spread darkness over the land … No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light … (Exodus 10:23). When Jesus took our sins on Himself, and bore the judgment that should have been ours on the cross, darkness fell on the earth for three hours (Matthew 27:45). In a day yet to come, at the end of the world, right before the final return of Jesus Christ to earth, the world will be plunged into darkness (Revelation 16:10).
The increasing spiritual and moral darkness in our world is making it more and more difficult for people without Jesus to see where they are going. They seem to be stumbling themselves or stepping on others. They may have lots of knowledge, but since they have no real fear of God, they have no wisdom in how to use it. They may be super connected through their cellphones and social media, yet they seem to be almost narcissistic in their self-centeredness. They can’t see clearly. They need a Night Light (Matthew 4:16). How can we as Christians become Night Lights to the world?
Through a Personal Encounter with Jesus
1 John 1:1
- Make a list of phrases from the Gospel of John 1:1-5 that describe who the Light is. Put each into your own words.
- Who was John? Read Matthew 4:18-24.
- What other personal encounters with Jesus did John have during his three years as a disciple? Give references.
- What three encounters would have been especially etched on John’s memory? Read Matthew 17:1-8, John 19:25-27 and John 20:19-20.
- When did the Light first penetrate your life? When have you personally encountered Jesus? Write out your testimony as if you were sharing briefly with someone who is not saved.
Through a Powerful Encounter with Jesus
1 John 1:2
- Instead of a secondhand experience or hearsay, what difference do you think John’s personal encounter with Jesus made to his testimony?
- Describe the power of a personal encounter with Jesus in John 4:28-30, 39-42; 2 Peter 1:16-18; John 18:15-18; and John 18:25-27 with Acts 4:13.
- If you’ve had a personal encounter with Jesus, what difference has it made in the way you set priorities? In the way you schedule your day? In the way you share your faith with others?
- What phrase is repeated in 1 John 2:3, 13-14; 1 John 3:1; and 1 John 4:6-8? From these verses, list some of the evidence that should be demonstrated in our lives as a result of knowing God through a personal encounter with Jesus.
- Which of these would your spouse or best friend recognize in you? Which ones are missing?
Through a Purposeful Encounter with Jesus
1 John 1:3-4
- As a result of his personal, powerful encounter with Jesus, what purpose did John have? Read 1 John 1:3 and John 20:30-31.
- Describe the personal, powerful encounter Saul of Tarsus (who became Paul the Apostle) had with Jesus in Acts 9:1-6.
- As a result, what purpose did Saul have? See Philippians 3:7-10.
- According to 1 John 1:3-4, what three implied results should impact our lives following a personal, powerful encounter with Jesus?
- Match each result with one of the following verses: Acts 4:18-20, Luke 24:36-53, Acts 8:4-8 and 16:22-34,
- Romans 15:30-32, Acts 15:27, 1 Thessalonians 2:19 and Hebrews 12:2.
- Do you have a clear sense of purpose as a follower of Jesus? If not, why?
Through a Purifying Encounter with Jesus
1 John 1:5-9
- What are some primary characteristics of light, and how do they apply to an encounter with Jesus? See 1 John 1:5.
- What do you think darkness represents in 1 John 1:5-6? See Acts 26:18, 2 Corinthians 6:14 and 1 John 2:9.
- What does the light represent in 1 John 1:7? See John 3:19 and 8:12.
- What phrases refer to the sin in our own lives? Give verses.
- Write out the practical steps you would tell someone to take who can’t seem to see his or her own sin.
- What would you tell someone who can see his or her own sin? See 1 John 1:7-9, Romans 3:23 and 6:2, Ephesians 1:7, Acts 13:38 and 1 John 2:12.
- How does the hope of His return motivate us to deal with our own sin? Read 1 John 2:28 and Revelation 3:1-3.
- From 1 John 1:6-10, how does John describe the difference Jesus should make in our lives?
How does Paul also describe this difference in Ephesians 2:1-7? 2:12-13? 4:17-32? In two columns, list the contrasting characteristics of those who walk in darkness and the characteristics of those who live in the Light. Which list most accurately describes you?
Because the world in which we live is becoming increasingly dark—just before His coming—we need to be reminded that the Light still shines … even in the night.
The best way to be a Night Light in our darkening world is to make sure we turn on the Light in our own lives by having a personal, powerful, purposeful, purifying encounter with Jesus … every day! Then ask God to use you as a Night Light to help give direction, clarity, truth and wisdom to those who are walking in darkness.
Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word Worldwide for more than 30 years. Her newest book, Wounded By God’s People, is available at AnneGrahamLotz.com.