Revelation: Things Are Not As They Seem – Part 17

“According to what they had done” Revelation 20:11-15 July 31st, 2016


I. Lets START with what John SAW. (v.11-15)
A. He saw a KING on a THRONE. (v.11)
B. …the EARTH and the SKY flee. (v.11)
C. …the DEAD come back to LIFE. (v.12-13; Rom 2:6-8)
D. …BOOKS and a BOOK. (v.12)
E. …JUDGMENT according to DEEDS. (v.12-13; II Cor. 5:9-10)
F. …TWO different DESTINIES. (20:14-22:6)

This whole book has been what John saw concerning Jesus, the Slain Lamb who is the hope for the whole world. Although this text is only 5 verses, it is packed with what John saw. Its important that we listen carefully and hear his words instead of just skimming them and holding to what we think he is saying.

1. If you lived under the rule of a King (instead of a Prime Minister), how would day to day life be different? How does this apply to living under the rule of Jesus?
2. What part of this text stands out to you the most? Gives you the most comfort? Makes you most uncomfortable?
3. Does this text show God as patient? Why or why not?

II. Are we really JUDGED by our DEEDS? (Eph. 2:8-9)
A. Judgment as DETERMINING MERIT. (Rom. 3:10-20)
B. Judgment as ASSESSMENT of real FAITH. (Ja. 2:14-26)
C. The KEY is that second BOOK. (Rev. 13:8, 17:8, 21:27; Lk. 10:20)

Most of the world outside the church thinks that the key to going to heaven is being good enough. But for those who understand the cross we know its not what we do, but what God has done. But how does that reconcile with what our text says…twice – …judged according to what they had done…

4. Do you agree with the differentiation between judgment as determining merit and judgment as assessment of real faith?
5. What about those who arent Christians and yet life a very Christ-like life? Is that even possible?
6. Just to keep some discussion going in your group…what do the texts above mean when they say that our names are written in the book of life before the foundation of the world? Do we seek God or does He seek us?

III. UNDERSTANDING where DEEDS come from. (Rom. 1:5)
A. It STARTS with what JESUS did. (I Cor. 3:11; Is. 53:5-7,10-12)
B. What He DID changes who we ARE. (II Cor. 5:17; Titus 2:11-14)
C. GROWING into who we ALREADY are. (Col. 3:1-11; II Peter 1:1-9)

Misunderstanding how judgment according to deeds works leads to an even bigger problem. We get confused about where these good works actually come from. We often believe that the fear of judgement, or even the awe of what God has done for us will motivate good behavior. But the gospel points to something even deeper than fear or awe as the one true power to transform our actions.

7. How can we balance being too hard on ourselves when we blow it and a real expectation that Jesus will help us to change?
8. Do you find it hard to balance deeds (the good that you do) with humility (the fact that its God doing them through you)?

A. It starts with KNOWING who we are in CHRIST. (Rom. 1:5)
B. Fear gets our ATTENTION, but love TRANSFORMS. (I Jn. 4:16-18)
C. Not PERFECTION but PROGRESSION. (Phil. 1:6; 3:12-16,20-21)
D. LOVING what God LOVES. (2 Cor. 5:14-17; Eph. 3:17-19)

The judgment always struck fear into my heart as I grew up. I didnt want to be exposed, for people to know what really was going on in my heart and mind. But the beauty of this passage is that God loves us despite what we have done…and nothing could make Him love us any more, or any less. To really internalize that changes the way we live. Thats how the gospel actually works.

9. What have you used as motivation for change? Love or fear/guilt/shame? What has been most effective in your own life.
10. How can you practice knowing and relying on the love of God this week…?