by Pastor Gene
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
- John 8:12 has a message for unbelievers and believers. To unbelievers it says, “You live in darkness, the land of shadows and death. Come to me and I will bring you into the Light.’ To believers it says, ‘If you follow Me, you walk in Light, rather than in darkness. In fact, you’ll have the very light of life – you’ll know what it means to be truly living!’ But there is a qualifier: “If you follow Me” – maybe you will, maybe you won’t. What does Jesus mean by the word “follow”? Have you ever experienced the “light of life” that comes from truly ‘following’ Jesus? What was that like? Have you ever been a believer who was not ‘following’ Jesus? What was that like?
- Let’s revisit 1 John 1:5-9 with respect to ‘following’ Jesus. John speaks of ‘walking in the light’ as being in fellowship with Him. Answer these questions from this passage: (1) In 1:5, who does John say taught the Apostles that “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all”? What does John mean by saying there is “no darkness at all”? Think of all the connotations of ‘darkness’. (2) In 1:6, what is indicated by the word ‘walk’? (3) Also in 1:6, what does it mean for believers to “practice the truth”? (4) In 1:7, where does John say God is? This is chilling, because if there “is no darkness at all” in God and if He “is in the light”, what does it say about us when we ‘walk in darkness’? (5) Also in 1:7, John promises that ‘IF’ we walk in the light two things will happen What are they? What does it mean that ‘if we walk in the light’ Jesus’ blood will KEEP ON CLEANSING us of all sin? (Note: ‘cleanses’ in the Greek text is in the present tense indicating a continuous action, it keeps on cleansing.) But wait a cotton-pickin’ minute! I thought Jesus’ blood already cleansed us from our sin at salvation? So, how does it continue to cleanse those who “walk in the light”? Oh, and, by the way, how does it feel to be the object of God’s continual cleansing? (6) In 1:9, what’s the remedy to ‘walking in darkness’? How do we get back to the light, back to fellowship with Jesus? What is indicated by the words “forgive us our sins AND to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”?
- God expects believers to walk in fellowship with Him. And while we all slip at times, the desire to please Him is the desire of all truly saved people. Look at the next part of 1 John (2:1-6). Have someone in the group read it. Ask the group to reflect upon it for several minutes in silence. Ask another brother or sister to read it again. Pause for another short reflection. Then ask your group to share what jumped out at them from this passage. When everyone who wants to share has shared, read through the passage verse by verse. Read verse 1 and ask, what is God telling us in this verse. Then read verse 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 asking the same question.
- When Jesus says, “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12b), it should be clear that to ‘follow’ Jesus is to ‘obey’ Him. Consider the following passages: John 14:21-24; John 15:14, and Luke 6:46-49. What do they tell us about the importance of Christian obedience? In the Luke 6 passage, what do the man who experienced ruin and the one who experienced blessing have in common? What the difference between them?
- Consider this concluding thought: In John 8:12b, Jesus is promising not only a light for salvation, but a light to live by, to order our steps by, the very “light of life.” AMEN! Praise the One who is our Light, the Victorious One!
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