Ending With the Cross?
One of the most common questions I receive on any subject is “Should you always close your sermon with the cross?” This is a good question that requires some explanation in the answer. Let me first say, yes every sermon should have in its celebration a connection of the major thought in your sermon to the redemptive power of God. But, this must be a tailor made celebration. It is made for this occasion and should not be a simple regurgitation of the same ending in all of your sermons. And when you connect the redemptive power of God to your point, one must take care and make sure to make the connection clear. You can do that by following these two suggestions
1) Don’t use a stock ending
We have all heard about the preachers who end in exactly the same way. They start yelling about the “Goodness of Jesus” even if the relevance to the rest of the sermon is not made clear. They finally continue on into the “Eaaaaarrrrlllyyy Sunday Morning” bit. The people shout, but they have now forgotten the preached word. It is alright to use a powerful ending, but it should be directly and clearly relevant to the rest of the sermon.
2) Always emphasize the point’s connection to the cross
In your celebration, don’t just go off into the cross and leave behind the main point of the message. Your celebration must be a mingling of the two. It must be a solid combination of the cross and the main point. If you do that, you will help your people remember. This is a powerful way to move the people to celebration of their redemption in Jesus Christ as an implication of the message preached.
It is not simply about whooping a stock ending about the cross at the end of your sermon. If you do this, you will cause the people to remember your stock ending, but not your sermon. But if you can talk about how the point you made is because of the cross or is made possible by the cross or is a natural implication of the cross or something like that, then you will demonstrate how this fundamental component was actually preached by your other points. And the people will remember not just that you said “eeeaarrrrlllyy Sunday Morning” but will remember the rest of your sermon.