Sermon Overview & Discussion Questions: "Living This Day for That Day"




C.J. Mahaney  |  Revelation 20:11-15 | "Living This Day For That Day"
These written prayers are intended to fuel your meditation on this passage and your enjoyment of God in prayer.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence, earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.  And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.  Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.  Revelation 20:11-15

“All Christians ought to be engaged in preparing one another for their deaths and for suffering, so that when suffering comes, we may be so shaped by God’s Word that we may be able, as it were, to put our hands into the hand of God even in the darkness.” – Christopher Ash

PRAYER: Father, I pray that as I read your Word, I will be reminded that I am hearing the voice of the one whom, one day, I will see face to face. Fill my heart with an anticipation that informs my thoughts, my words, my deeds, and my conversations with those who know you, and with those who do not.

V11 “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it.” The “throne” John sees in heaven is “great” communicating God’s reign over-all and it is “white” symbolizing the holiness of the sovereign Lord, the Judge of all seated upon it.

PRAYER: Lord God, seated on the throne, fill my heart with the faith-filled assurance that you rule and reign over all – now and forever. When I am tempted with fear and resignation, may that assurance bring peace, hope, and faithfulness amid a world that appears in chaotic wickedness. Thank you that when all appears out of control, it is you alone that sovereignly rules over all!

Everyone appears before the judgment seat of Christ without distinction, and everyone is accountable to Christ without exception. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ...” 2 Cor. 5:10

PRAYER:  Lord, a fear of death can often grip my soul – when? how? And having my every sinful thought, word, and deed known and written down, can be likewise terrifying. When I am so tempted, please take me to the cross, that displays righteous wrath and judgment, and the complete satisfaction of your judgment through the death of your Son, my Substitute and Savior!

V12 “…and the books were opened…And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.”

“The issue is not salvation by works but works as the irrefutable evidence of a man’s actual relationship with God.” – Robert Mounce

When you are called by name to appear before the judgment seat of Christ and the books are opened will there be public evidence to confirm you trusted in Christ alone for rescue?

PRAYER:  Father, thank you grace I have been saved through faith. And this is not my own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

V12 “Then another book was opened, which is the book of life.”  In this book are inscribed all the “names” of those God has graciously chosen before the foundation of the world, called through the proclamation of the gospel and given eternal life they do not deserve.

PRAYER:  Lord, I am without words to adequately thank you and praise you for your rich and unfathomable mercy. Knowing who I am in my sinfulness, and yet that I was chosen, called, and made alive compels my worship, faith, obedience, and awe!

V14 “Then Death and Hades were thrown in the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.”

Death, the last enemy is destroyed at the final judgment. And if anyone’s “name” was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

“What a wonderful thing that Jesus warns us. He does not leave us ignorant of the wrath to come. He not only warns us. He rescues. – John Piper

PRAYER: Father, when I, and those that I talk to, are perplexed by the thought of judgment, wrath, and eternal punishment in hell, remind me that perfect righteousness and holiness demands perfect justice. Help me grasp, and help me share with others, the awesome glory of the one true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent.

So what discernable difference should the final judgment make in our lives?

PRAYER:  Lord, may I by your grace and empowering Spirit consider, embrace, and pursue each of these invitations and opportunities:

  1. Contemplating appearing one day before the judgment seat of Christ, provoke me to please and obey you by your empowering grace. Help me to please you, happily obey you, serve in the local church, and advance the gospel. Help me to add more to the heavenly record about my life all because of your grace and all for your glory, not mine.
  2. With an awareness of the judgment seat of Christ, impart to me compassion and courage to share the gospel with the lost when I am tempted to be silent...knowing that behind every non-Christian I know and love stands the shadow of judgment.
  3. Lord, may I live in agreement with Dr. Carson – “At the end of the day, what hell measures is how much Christ paid for those who escape hell. The measure of his torment (in ways I do not pretend to begin to understand) as the God-man is the measure of torment we [I] deserve and he bore. And if you [I] see that and believe it, you [I] will find it difficult to contemplate the cross for very long without tears.” D.A. Carson

This final judgment scene is a merciful warning to unbelievers to repent and trust in Christ and it is also a comfort to those already in Christ. All will stand before Christ as judge, and the entirety of our life will be exposed. This merciful warning should strike terror in the heart of the unbeliever and encourage them to turn to Jesus who has taken God’s wrath for sin upon Himself for those who believe. We, believers, are comforted in the truth that we are not justified by our own works but by His and are motivated to hate sin and live for Him. There is deep assurance in knowing our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, each purchased by Jesus’ blood.


  1. What feeling arises in your heart and mind when you hear of the “final judgement?”
  2. In view of standing before God that day, what sin are you driven to hate more deeply today and what comfort are you more deeply assured of today?
  3. Is there evidence of another fear or another trust in your life apart from Jesus, that you need to turn from and receive prayer for?
  4. What steps do you need to take this week to grow more aware of the deeds of the Lamb, and His sovereign choice to write your name in His book?
  5. How does this passage shape your view of the lost in your life?