Land That Plane!
It is not unusual to hear a novice speaker struggle in bringing a speech to a conclusion. At times the novice . . . .
- just abruptly ends – The speech just stops!
- circles and circles the field trying to find a place to land
- closes with “May the Spirit apply this to our hearts and lives.”
- goes on for another five to ten minutes re-hashing all that was said
- repeatedly concludes with “Let me conclude by saying . . . .”
There are different ways to bring a message to a conclusion. Stephen Davey illustrates a “concluding rhetorical technique” in the message we looked at yesterday (Stephen Davey: “Going to Heaven . . . Old Testament Style” – audio link and PDF link).
√ Remember, Davey began with the question of how Old Testament believers were justified.
Has the definition of salvation always been the same, since the beginning of time? Is it “justification by faith” for believers in the New Testament time, and “justification by works, or circumcision, or Levitical dietary laws, or adherence to the system of Judaism” in the Old Testament time? How was an Old Testament person saved? How were they granted forgiveness? How did an Old Testament believer go to paradise?
Abraham never asked Jesus into his heart, nor did Moses or Joshua. None of the prophets ever got down on their knees and said, “Father, right now I know I’m a sinner and I place my faith in Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to save me and forgive me of my sins.”
They never prayed anything like that. So, you might say, “But I thought that’s what you had to do to go to heaven!”
How did an Old Testament person, who lived before the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, find forgiveness. Did they not need forgiveness? Did God change the rules for certain Old Testament saints? Did He play favorites?
√ He deepened the problem by pointing to some Old Testament saints who were not always so “saintly” in their conduct.
√ Davey then spent most of his message on answering the question, the problem which he both posed and heightened.
√ FINALLY, at the end of the message, Davey recalls the Old Testament biblical characters AND their sins to which he had specifically referred.
In his conclusion, he recalls them as he seeks to apply and identify those old sinful saints with the sinful saints of today, those who are listening to the message.
Are you like Abraham – a liar and a coward?
Are you like Moses – a murderer and a frequently angry person?
Are you like David – adulterous and immoral?
Are you like Jacob – manipulative, self-centered, and deceptive?
Because of God’s justice, no sin will ever go unpunished; yet, because of God’s grace, no sin is beyond forgiveness.
The incredible story of the cross is not that it was just a demonstration of justice, but that it was a demonstration of grace and love. For, our holy, righteous God chose not to punish the sinner, but instead, sent His son to bend down, take off His shirt of omnipotence and splendor, and take our punishment for us.
And those of us who place our hope and faith in His Son alone, will also go to heaven. We will meet Old Testament and New Testament believers alike, who have that one thing in common – faith in the One who paid the penalty for all of our sin.
Stephen Davey’s “Conclusion” re-rings some of the notes played in the beginning.
NOTE: Davey not only calls up the biblical characters and the sins of the individuals he had cited in the very beginning, but he also calls up the phrases – “to bend down,” & “take off His shirt” which came from the illustration he previously used concerning Cliff Barrows. He “re-rings” those notes as well.
The Value Of Re-ringing
“Re-ringing notes which were played in the introduction of the message . . . .
- provides an opportunity to drive the Big Idea again
- gives a sense of cohesion
- communicates an unspoken message about a speaker’s purposeful planning
- creates a perception of “message unity”
- creates and/or catches the audience’s attention
There are variations of “re-ringing the notes” of an introduction at the conclusion. A speaker can also begin with a story and then at the end of the speech or message, come back to that story and . . . .
bring the story to an end — “I know I left you hanging as to what happened . . . .”
finish it up with a final “chapter” — “Let me add the concluding chapter and tell you what happened after that . . . .”
add some details that were purposefully left out — “I did not tell you that the person I mentioned when I began was me,”
add another interesting facet to the same story — “There was another child in that same home who . . . .”
Concluding Remarks About Concluding (pun intended)
Don’t just stop!
Finish once – “Finally” means “Finally!” Don’t keep dropping and lifting the landing gear! Land!
The conclusion does not need to be the applications. Application can occur throughout a message, and the conclusion is allowed to primarily drive the Big Idea (which has and will have implications).
Work your conclusion. Be intentional in how you are going to end so that when you end, you know that you have ended.
Don’t make your closing prayer your conclusion where you say what you should have said in the message. If some preachers listened to their closing prayer, they would have recognized that they have some great content in that prayer that should have been said in the message.
The conclusion should not be adding a new point, but driving what has been already said. Don’t use the conclusion to go where you did not go in the message.
A good conclusion will leave a satisfying impression of the time spent listening to you as a speaker.
Work At It
Public Speaking takes WORK and if you do not take the time to work and rework a message, whether it be . . . .
how to state the Big Idea
ways to develop the message
the structure you choose to use
how best to illustrate a point
ways to make a truth memorable
how to develop and/or drive a truth or principle
a purposeful approach to concluding it all
. . . . you will fall into old ruts and patterns which, in one sense, “put the audience into mental cruise control” as they passively listen, waiting to hear something different which calls for their attention and focus.
If you doubt that — at all — reflect on your own listening habits as you listen when others speak!
You Is Them!