Closing The Sermon With Power
Chapter 5: Become The Actor
Ok, we know what we are trying to do, what are the tools to actually do it? How can we actually turn the raw materials into a celebration? In this chapter, we will provide some explicit tools that you can use for promoting celebration in the close.
Become the Actor
The first tool to construct a sermonic close is for you, the preacher, to become the actor in the sermon. I mean you are the one who acts. You are the one who is doing what the sermon calls you to do.
This can be helpful when you have a controlling metaphor for your whole sermon. These sermons, that you can become the actor in, should ask the people to do something or promote something.
The preacher becomes the chief “obey-er” of the message. I have a couple of examples here:
First is a sermon that I preached that you can find on Naaman the one who was afflicted with leprosy. In the sermon Naaman went into the Jordan river to be cleansed. In the sermon we metaphorically went down into the Jordan with Naaman.
When we got to the banks of the Jordan, I, as the chief “obey-er” of the message went down into the Jordan and invited the people to go with me. Here, I was going to obey the truth in the message.
To repeat, at the close, I pretty much said that I’m going down in the Jordan and I’m asking you to go down in the Jordan with me. I became the actor. I was the leader of the people down into the Jordan. The
main metaphor of the sermon was to go into the Jordan or being washed in the Jordan.
I do not mean becoming an actor in the sense of being a person portraying a fictional character in a theatrical presentation. I did not make hand signals or rolled around on the ground or changed my voice in an attempt to impersonate Namaan. I simply was the chief actor.
Another example of this particular idea is the sermon, Pressing On, by C.L. Franklin. Here, C.L Franklin talked about a race between a young man and what turned out to be Death personified.
The man and Death ran and ultimately Death won. C.L. Franklin preached the sermon, but at the end he became the actor. It was he who was running. Franklin was doing the running (metaphorically).
C.L. Franklin talked about how he was going to press on, he was going to run on, he was going to obey the message. And so this is an important way to bring—to celebrate is to become the actor. “I’m going to go down. I’m going to press on.”
And if you were going to add to this close, maybe you would add in a hymn like, “I’m pressing on the upward way, new heights, I’m gaining everyday.”
At any rate, you can bring in some of those raw materials that I talked about before to aid you in becoming the actor.
So that’s the first way to add a celebrative conclusion, you become the actor. I would encourage you
to look at some other preachers and listen to how they become the actors in their sermons. Sometimes, you never hear the preacher refer to the preacher as “I” until the very end of the sermon. Then they start saying things like, “I’m going to do this,” or “I’m going to take up wings and fly away.”
And then they ask the congregation to go and follow the preacher. This is where the preacher becomes
Please do not misunderstand, I do not mean becoming an actor in the sense of being a person portraying a fictional character in a theatrical presentation. No, I am saying becoming an actor in the sense of the one who does the action called for in the sermon.
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