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How can we conclude a sermon?

The best way to conclude a sermon is to sum up and apply what you have been saying. One can usually learn more as to how to close a lawyer in court than he can by listening to the average preacher on a pulpit.

Preachers aim too much at delivering a perfect discourse, while a lawyer aims at carrying his case. It is a good thing to close a Gospel message with some striking incident, an incident that touches men’s hearts and makes them ready for action. I have often heard preachers preach a sermon and right in the middle they would tell some striking strong story that melted and moved people, then they would go on to the close without any incident whatever. If they had only told the story at the close, the sermon would have been much more effective. It would have been better still if they had that moving story in the middle, and another just as good or better at the close.

A true sermon exists for the purpose of leading someone to Christ or building someone up in Christ. I have heard people criticize some preachers, and say that they broke nearly all the rules of rhetoric and homiletics, and that the sermon was a failure, when the sermon had accomplished its purpose and brought many to the acceptance of Christ. Again, I have heard people say, “what a magnificent sermon we have just heard!” and I have asked, “what good did it do you?”  And they would say, “I do not know that it did me any good”. I have further asked what good it did anyone else, what there was in it that would particularly benefit any one. It was a beautiful sermon without any result.

A few years ago a well – known professor of homiletics went to hear an Evangelist holding a crusade. He afterward told his class that the Evangelist violated every law of homiletics. Perhaps he did, but he won souls to Christ in his whole lifetime.

For the fact that conclusion of sermon is one the most important part of the discourse, it must be well arranged to achieve the purpose of salvation or edification, or to impart full exhortation that will spur up for evangelization. In St. Luke chapter ten, the Lord Jesus spoke and moved the disciples into action. The preachers of this generation must arrange the conclusion of their sermons to achieve the Gospel purposes and achievements.

I would advise you to write your sermons out, but do not allow what you have written to enslave you. That is, you can do a great deal of writing, not for the purpose of preaching from the note book but to improve on your style. In other words, the more you write, read and understand, the more liberty you have during the presentation because you already have a deep thought and concentration on your sermon write – up privately, before the public performance. Most emphatically, it is not advisable to write a sermon and read it word for word from the note book. I once heard a preacher deliver an address. Who said before the beginning, that as he wished to say a great deal in a very short time, he had written his address. It was a     magnificent address, but he had no freedom of delivery, and the audience did not get it at all. So far, as practical results were concerned, it would have been a great deal if he had said less and spoken without his manuscript.

Anyone who really has a call to preach can train himself to speak just as freely as he writes. It will be necessary, however, that he should think out closely beforehand just what he is going to say. After thinking your sermon all out carefully, when you come to preach, your mind will naturally follow the lines along which you have been thinking. You set the mental machinery going, and it will go of itself. The mind is just as much a creature of habit as any part of our body, and after one has thought consecutively and thoroughly along a certain line, when he takes up that thought again he naturally runs in the grooves that have cut out.

In summary, we see the sermon conclusion to be one of the most important part of the message. This is where the preacher seeks to imprint the last impression on the minds of his audience. It is the action point that moves the people into practical demonstration of the preacher’s intention.