Introduction: Consider this interesting thing about
judgment. Everyone wants other people to receive judgment
for what they have done (or what we think they have done).
But no one wants to be judged. Have you ever said, “I wish a
police car were here to see the way this guy drives?” On
the other hand, do you like it when police lights turn on
behind you and you are pulled over for a traffic violation?
We have been studying Revelation 14:7 which warns that the
“hour of His judgment has come.” Is it possible that this is
a judgment for others and not for you? Let’s plunge into our
study of the Bible and find out!

I. The Books

A. Read Revelation 20:11. Who do you think is on this
throne? (God.)

1. How can earth and sky run away somewhere? And
why would they run? (Notice the description of
the throne, it is “great” and “white.” I
think that means it is imposing and bright.
What happens to the stars and the moon when
the sun rises? They disappear. That is what is
happening here. The throne picture is so
imposing and bright that we are no longer
seeing earth and sky.)

B. Read Revelation 20:12. What two kinds of “books”
do we see here? (There are “books” and then there
is the “Book of Life.” All are opened.)

1. What information is implied with the word
picture of “open books?” (Books record
information. If you open a book you are
looking at the information recorded in it.)

2. What kind of information is in these books? (A
record of what those who are judged have

a. What does this tell you about the nature
of God’s judgment? (He is not arbitrary.
Documentary evidence is reliable. These
people are not being judged based on
status, money, influence, bribes, or a
false memory. They are judged based on
their recorded deeds.)

C. Let’s skip down and read Revelation 20:15. If your
deeds are being reviewed in the judgment, what is
the outcome? (You are thrown into the lake of

1. What does that tell us about the nature of the
recorded deeds? (They must be bad overall. The
picture is that the bad deeds of these people
are recorded, they are judged based on these
bad deeds, and then they are destroyed by

D. This is all pretty frightening to hear. Let’s look
again at Revelation 20:12 and Revelation 20:15.
What book is the exception? (The Book of Life.)

1. What is written in the Book of Life? (The
Bible says that names are recorded. This
implies that names and not deeds are recorded.
Of course, in the other books a record of
deeds without names is useless. But that
practical point does not explain why the Book
of Life is specifically mentioned as including

E. Let’s bring some other texts into this discussion.
Read Ephesians 2:4-5. What hope do we have if the
deeds recorded in the books are bad? (No hope
based on our deeds. We are made alive because of
the grace afforded by Jesus.)

F. Read Ephesians 2:6. Is this a comment about a
post-judgment time? (It must be. Those saved by
grace are with Jesus in heaven.)

G. Read Ephesians 2:7-9. Are those saved by grace
saved by their works? (No. Works are specifically

1. Reading Ephesians 2 into Revelation 20 tells
us what about this Book of Life? (It contains
the names of those saved by grace. It does not
contain a record of works for these people are
not judged by their works.)

2. Let’s consider this from a practical point of
view. Revelation 20:12 refers to an unnumbered
amount of books for the recording of deeds,
but only one Book of Life. What does this tell
us, from a practical point of view, about
whether the Book of Life records deeds?
(Writing your name takes a lot less space than
recording a lifetime of your deeds.)

II. Jesus’ Story About Judgment

A. Read Matthew 22:1-2. What is this parable about?
(The Kingdom of Heaven. Since we will see that
this story describes the criteria for entering the
Kingdom, it necessarily informs us about the
judgment made for entrance.)

B. Read Matthew 22:3-4. What does this say about how
we enter heaven? Do we have to win an invitation?
(You have to be invited. This does not tell us how
this group was selected to receive an invitation.)

1. How persistent is the King in getting the
invitees to attend?

C. Read Matthew 22:5-7. Here is an adverse judgment!
Clearly they are not going to heaven. What did
these potential guests do to warrant judgment? (It
ranged from being indifferent to hostile in regard
to the King’s invitation. They were preoccupied
with other matters and did not make the King a

D. Read Matthew 22:8. What is the judgment on those
who did not come? (They “were not worthy.” We will
get back to this point.)

E. Read Matthew 22:9-10. This text tells us how this
group was selected to receive an invitation to the
wedding. What was that criteria? (Everyone that
could be found and who was willing to come.)

1. What are we specifically told was not a
criteria for inviting this recent group of
guests? (Their deeds. We are told that both
“bad and good” guests were invited and came.)

2. What, then, is meant in Matthew 22:8 about
being “worthy?” (It means accepting the

F. Read Matthew 22:11-13. How did this fellow get
disinvited from the wedding? (He was not wearing a
“wedding garment.”)

1. Since this is a story about the Kingdom of
Heaven, what does this tell us about the
nature of judgment – especially for this one
fellow? (He is one who, in Revelation 20
terms, is being cast into the fiery lake.)

2. Let’s take stock of what we have learned. We
have those who have passed whatever is the
test to be accepted into heaven and those who
have been sentenced to a judgment of
destruction. Describe how the wicked managed
to miss out on heaven? (They fall into several
categories. They ignore the King, they prefer
to engage in their own business rather than
spend their time at the King’s wedding, they
are hostile to the King’s messengers, or they
hate the King’s messengers and kill them.
There is one other category, a person who
accepted the King’s invitation but failed to
put on the wedding garment.)

G. Look again at Matthew 22:11-12. We need to be able
to understand this wedding garment! How do you
think the guests obtained a wedding garment? (The
guests did not bring them from home because this
story says they were gathered from “the main
roads.” They had no idea at the beginning of
their journey that they were attending an
important wedding. The only logical conclusion is
that the King supplied the wedding garments.)

1. Everyone was wearing a wedding garment except
for this one man. Why do you think the man was
speechless when asked how he got in without a
wedding garment? (He had no defense or

a. What does that tell us about the wedding
garment? (We have absolutely no reason
not to accept it from the King. This
reaction reinforces the idea that both
good and bad people are accepted if they
wear the wedding garment. If the issue
was whether this man was bad or good,
then we would certainly hear an argument
from him. See, for example, the dispute
recorded in Matthew 7:21-23.)

H. To further explore this wedding garment, read
Revelation 19:8, Isaiah 61:10, Isaiah 64:6, and
Zechariah 3:4. Revelation 19:8 refers to the robe
as “the righteous deeds of the saints.” However,
other texts say that a robe reflecting our deeds
is a “filthy garment.” What should we understand
from these perhaps conflicting texts? (If you take
what we learned in Ephesians, that our works do
not save us, add to it the acceptance of the good
and bad wedding guests who were willing to wear
the robe, the Revelation 19:8 robe reference seems
to be an outlier. If you examine it more closely,
it is the church which is wearing this robe, and
it may only mean the righteous deeds of the saints
reflect well on the church.)

I. Read Matthew 22:14. How were the wedding guests
“chosen?” (They chose themselves. They agreed to
come and they accepted the wedding garment.)

J. Friend, this is the unique judgment that we all
want, it happens to others but not to us. Why?
Because we have accepted the King’s invitation to
heaven and we accept His robe of righteousness
rather than relying on our deeds. This is such a
wonderful offer, will you accept it right now?

III. Next week: The Hour of His Judgment.

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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