Bad conclusions in Sermons A post on how to end a sermon effectively and biblically.
Bad conclusions in Sermons
By David Cox
Avoid the inconclusive conclusion.
Some sermons seem to have no conclusion. This is a error, and it should be avoided. The problem here goes back to the beginning of the sermon creation process. Many preachers have no biblical concept of what they are doing. They just get up and talk about the Bible for a while and sit down. The “country” style preachers that do this commonly by story and joke telling.
A sermon is given for moral change. IF there is to be some kind of moral change, then the sermon cannot ever be just the cold, dead and lifeless presentation of information. There must be a moral application, a moral call to action at the end. People must change from some position that they had before to some position the Bible commands of them.
To wander around with no conclusion and then end in prayer is a disaster for a sermon.
Abrupt End conclusion.
What is worse that the above situation is a sermon where the preacher is in the middle of a statement almost, and he just starts praying to end his sermon. Although this is many times a pleasant surprise for people who have had to listen to a wandering sermon with no purpose, this also is a sign of a poorly constructed sermon.
One of the keys to good sermon construction is a central theme, proposition or thesis. This these is what the Bible says that we should do, or do different, or stop doing. This thesis should be the heart and backbone of the sermon, demanding that every element, every phrase, thought and concept be a positive support of the sermon.
When this is the very bone around which the meat of the sermon is constructed, then it becomes very easy to give a good conclusion by simply reminding the audience of the sermon’s thesis, and the main points you have given to prove your thesis. Your points don’t prove your thesis? Then it was just your opinion and not God’s Word. Your points were not apparent? You made a poor presentation of them then. Your points don’t do anything because they were cut loose from the thesis from the get-go? Then again this is a poor thesis.
No thesis? Go back to the drawing board. Get a biblical mindset in preparing sermons.
Excessively Emotional Conclusions
Some go overboard in the other direction making a great grand emotion climax in the conclusion. While this is what we want, simply to conclude, we don’t want the burden of change in the hearts of our people to be because of an emotional presentation. Perhaps God’s love for us is what caused God the Father to sacrifice His Son. Something like that is emotional, but the emotion is not from a story or illustration, but taken wholly from Scripture. That is okay.
Bad conclusions in Sermons
Fade to Black
Some preachers (especially new or young preachers) will preach a sermon, and although it has good elements, it seems to just fade to black. Again the lack of a clear thesis that demands a call to action in the audience is lacking here.
These preachers are going to essentially end their sermon without a conclusion, without a rehearsing of the thesis and its proof, without a call to action, they just simply say, “That is all I have for now folks!” The sermon is an arrow to pierce the heart of the evil sinner, but the arrow that is never touched a bow, that has never flown through the air to hit its mark, is not very good.
Where always is heard a Discouraging Word…
Some preachers seem to be able to put together a decent sermon, but their conclusion becomes a problem. Even though they may have a good thesis, even though they present good scriptural proof, they end their sermon with a discouraging word. For example they condemn some sin, and then end with that is the way things are! We cannot overcome it.
We can overcome any problem there is because God is for us, and God has given us great and wonderful resources to help us in the Christian life. This needs to be driven home. We sin, and we CAN overcome. There is no good to leave things on a discouraging note, “We win.”
A Tornado Conclusion
Some sermons seem to have a tornado conclusion where the conclusion seems to be a machine gun stuck on fire. Although there is a good thesis, the thesis is either too broad or the conclusion breaks with the thesis to make many applications all over the place.
Because your conclusion is not tightly integral with thesis, you make many applications which are loosely connected with the thesis hoping that one will make an impression, and in the end, none do because none are the conclusion of your thesis and proof.
Biblically Contradictory conclusions
This fault is seen often in those churches that define “God is working” by people at the altar kneeling. That is not the only way that God can work. Often these conclusions are totally broken and foreign to anything in the sermon.
You preach on believing the Word of God is inspired by God, and you end up exhorting people to be good workers in the church and to devote their lives in service to God (really their church). The conclusion (and invitation if one is given) should be a call to action based solely on the thesis of the sermon.
Another error here is when all the conclusions of a particular preacher boil down to being identical over several years. No matter what he preaches, his idea of ending his sermon is to return to the same issue over and over. True, salvation should be emphasized a lot in our sermons. But if you dump your sermon’s thesis to emphasize and conclude calling people to the action of being saved, then you undermine the importance of your sermon. This is not good. It is better to conclude the sermon correctly. Give an invitation (call to action) on that sermon thesis. And once finished, say, “I also want to open the service for anybody that wants to be saved. I know the sermon wasn’t on salvation, but I don’t want to end without making the invitation.”
This post is a reaction to a post I read, Finish your sermon Strong: 10 Mistakes to Avoid.