Faithlife Sermons

The Death That Needs No Autopsy

Notes & Transcripts


Autopsies are performed for various purposes. One, when the reason of death may be an unknown medical problem. Another, when a death is unexpected for a healthy child or adult. Also, especially when there is suspicion surrounding the death that it was suicide or murder. However, autopsies are not always necessary, including when the cause of death is already known.
While we are on the subject of death, I have here with me an article by Anna Gosline titled, “Death special: How does it feel to die?” In it she describes what it is like to die certain ways. I want to share with you some of what she writes about drowning and burning by fire.
Read highlighted words.
Certainly drowning and burning by fire would be scary ways to go, but consider this ancient Persian technique of torture called scaphism where you are put in a tub with you hands and head sticking out. The Persians would come along and douse you with milk and honey attracting bugs and stinging insects. You would also be feed the milk and honey causing you to have irritable bowel syndrome resulting in diarrhea. This would then attract flies that would lay eggs hatching maggots. These worms would devour your flesh eating you alive. You would finally die from an infection like sepsis or gangrene. One highly unfortunate person was recorded as surviving this form of torture for seventeen days (
While seventeen days of any kind of torture is frightful, what about eternal punishment? All the descriptions of death we have reviewed are mentioned by Jesus, with much less detail, when describing Hell. Hell is a lake of fire where worms devour you (Mark 9:43-44; Revelation 20:14-15).
Do you want to drown in a burning lake of fire where you will be eaten by worms for eternity? I am sure you do not! However, this could be you, if heaven is not your reward. The second death is one that needs no autopsy. The Bible clearly teaches us that it is a death due to unforgiven sins that separate us from God’s eternal glory. Therefore, let us meditate on Hell to direct our focus towards Heaven.

“The Boat Ride” and “The Safest Road” to Hell

If Hell ends up being one’s destiny, it will either take them by surprise, or they will have expected it.
For those who are expecting it, going to Hell is like the boat ride in the movie “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” In the candy factory Mr. Wonka takes his guests, who won a tour of it, on a boat ride through a dark tunnel. As they are entering, one guest shouts, “I want off,” having a sense of how frightening the ride was going to be. As they continue their journey, Charlie says, “This is kind of strange,” and his grandfather replies, “Yes, strange Charlie, but its fun.” However what seems fun eventually ends in panic by all while Mr. Wonka sings an eerie song and the tunnel displays grotesque pictures of things like a chicken getting its head cut off. For this sermon, we will use the song he sings to describe the kind of reckless adventure sin takes you on. It goes like this...
Round the world and home again, that’s the sailor’s way, faster Faster, faster faster
There’s no earthly way of knowing, which direction we are going, there’s no knowing where we’re rowing, or which way the river’s flowing
Is it raining, is it snowing, is a hurricane a-blowing
Not a speck of light is showing, so the danger must be growing, are the fires of Hell a-glowing, is the grisly reaper mowing
Yes, the danger must be growing, for the rowers keep on rowing, and they’re certainly not showing any signs that they are slowing
Ultimately Mr. Wonka shouts “Stop the boat” after one guest clamors, “Wonka, this has gone far enough.”
Hell will be no surprise for those who stay on the boat of sin and see the dangerous trip it is taking them on. I believe there are sinners like this. They know where they are going, but they do not care. If this is you, God wants you to repent (2 Peter 3:9).
For those it is a surprise, it is like C.S. Lewis’s description of the road that leads to Hell.
The safest road to hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
The Bibles speaks of those on this road to Hell in the gospel of John (John 16:1-3)—a road that as no sudden turns or signposts to warn them, signifying deception. However, anyone on this road participated in the deception, it was not simply done to them. Spiritual heart failure is involved in this deception. Physical heart failure has the symptoms of shortness of breath, trouble breathing, fatigue (tiredness), swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, abdomen, and veins in the neck ( Just like it, spiritual heart failure has symptoms too—lust, pride, bitterness, jealousy, selfish ambition, anger, hatred, and greed (James 3:14-16; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 John 2:11; 3:15; 2 Peter 2:3). But, how can one be dying spiritually and not know it? Simple, they ignore the symptoms and choose to walk a path without God’s direction. If we trust God, we will believe that sin has corrupted our hearts and we need his guidance desperately. If we trust God, we will ask Him to give us a new heart and walk down His path that has signposts. Otherwise, we will find ourselves choosing the convenient, but destructive way.

Hell: The Death That Needs No Autopsy (Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8)

Death in Hell needs no autopsy because Jesus teaches that both unbelief and sin are the cause (John 8:24).
Sometimes an autopsy is performed to find out if someone was murdered, or did they commit suicide. The death in Hell needs no autopsy because God cannot be blamed for it, only sinful man because he knowingly commits spiritual suicide in unbelief and sin (2 Peter 3:9). C.S. Lewis wrote in The Great Divorce,
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’
God does not desire that anyone goes to Hell, but because He is just, He sends the impenitent and unforgiven sinner there.
Sometimes an autopsy is performed to determine failure of internal organs which would contribute to the death of someone. The death in Hell needs no autopsy because Jesus teaches it is a result of spiritual heart failure (Hebrews 3:12).


Are you suffering from spiritual heart failure? Have you been riding the boat of sin or walking the safest path to Hell? If so, get off the boat, or turn back while you can. Surely you do not want to suffer in Hell, which Jesus depicts as drowning in a burning lake of fire, where you will also be eaten by worms. What horrible ways to die physically, and simply as figurative descriptions of the horrors of Hell, what a terrifying way to die eternally. If you are in danger of such a death, why not repent of your sins and start believing? Why not allow God to heal your heart now, so you will not suffer eternally! Death in Hell is one that needs no autopsy. If you end up experiencing the second death, it will be no mystery that needs investigation. The cause of death is certain, you are in Hell because you rejected Jesus in unbelief and died in your sins! Let that not be you. Are you subject to the invitation to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ. If so, will you come while we stand and sing?
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