The Funeral Message for an Unbeliever

I have been to so many funerals where the pastor essentially told everyone that they would all see the departed when they get to heaven, with no Gospel given. The church today has deceived so many into thinking they are saved because they said a little prayer when nine at VBS.

Please don’t be a part of deceiving others, even during the sad event of a funeral. Many people are only in a church for a funeral or a wedding and we Christians waste a precious opportunity to share the Gospel.

You may need to reevaluate your life if it is in such a shape that the Pastor conducting your funeral feels compelled to make up things in order to make the family feel better.

This sermon includes an audio and a transcript of the service.

Transcript of The Funeral of an Unbeliever


Web Page:

Grace Baptist Church of Danville
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor


2 thoughts on “The Funeral Message for an Unbeliever

  1. I don’t find it necessary to point out the deceased state. Was not Jesus Himself gracious by not stating who the rich man was, though He did mention Lazarus’ name. I agreed with all that this pastor spoke of… all except this very needless dumping on the grieving famlies heart. He of course was right not to make it appear she was saved, but to make such a statement at a person’s funeral is beyond my understanding. You will not see such an example in the Word of God.


    Berean Wife Reply:


    It had been over two years since I listened to this sermon by Fortner. So I re-listened to it and also reread the pdf. Now granted the pdf and the audio don’t match exactly as the typical pastor’s notes don’t always match the actual sermon. However, I found nothing offensive in the sermon beyond the offense of the gospel itself.

    “It is always difficult for me to know how to do what I am here to do today, to conduct a funeral service for someone I never knew. Because I never knew her, I will have nothing to say about Mrs. Murphy. Her body lies before us in that box, cold and dead. In just a few minutes, we will bury it beneath the ground in anticipation of the resurrection. As surely as I stand here today, — “The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28-29). What I have to say today might have been helpful to her a week ago; but she chose not to hear the gospel when she could have done so. Now, she is gone, gone forever into eternity! “ETERNITY!” — What a heavy, heavy word that is! — “Eternity!””

    He has not said she is in Hell nor has he even said much about her beyond the fact that she rejected the gospel. He does state that she has entered Eternity and her state of righteousness upon death will not be different from her state here on Earth.

    I think the actual verse in the Bible is more harsh than Fortner’s sermon.

    Luke 16:22-24 (ESV)
    22 … The rich man also died and was buried,
    23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
    24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’

    Here Jesus points out Hades, torment, the need for a cool touch of water, and anguish in the flame. Seems much more graphic to me. There was no point in pointing out the rich man’s name because there would a multitude of “rich men” who would fit this.

    The truth is what will set men free, not lying, mincing words for the sake of a person’s feelings whether in grief or not. I pray that some actually listened to this funeral and repented as a result.

    Berean Wife


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