Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


When You're Done, Sit Down

  • Jim Townsley
  • Jun 10, 2007

My grandfather Moody was a farmer and was known for his unique quips and country sense. He had a habit of frequently giving one sentence advice to people. Soon after I was called to preach my grandfather gave me some advice which I have never forgotten, "Jimmy, when you're done preaching, sit down." I repeated his statement at the conclusion of his funeral service and I received many positive comments assenting to his wise words. Evidently he and others had heard preachers who finished their sermon, but continued to preach (ramble.)Since preaching is the most important activity of a new preacher, it is imperative that he be good at it. People attend services especially to hear the sermons. Therefore it is important that we do our best to preach sermons that are honoring to the Lord. I admit I have probably ruined a good sermon by preaching after I was finished, but I am always cognizant of the importance of final impressions. The closing remarks of a sermon are essential to its effectiveness.

We must allow the Spirit of God to use the message we preach and when or if we feel we miss the mark we must resist the urge to continue and add to its ineffectiveness. If we have preached poorly we should end it as soon as possible rather than continuing to irritate our listeners further. The length of the sermon is not as important as finishing it when we are done. Some great men of God can preach short sermons and accomplish more than others with much longer sermons. Some men can preach long sermons and keep the people's interest. Usually people adjust to the style of the preacher. However, rambling after the sermon is finished can ruin the message and lose the impact of its main point.

Every aspect of the service should point to the invitation and toward people making decisions. The prelude, the welcome, the congregational songs, the special music, and especially the sermon should all point people to make a decision to get saved or surrender to the will of God.

It is important for the message to bring people to a decision. The main thrust of the sermon should be planned so as to challenge listeners to respond. A sermon filled with information alone will not easily lead to a decision. In addition, too much chatter between the end of the sermon and the beginning of the invitation can dampen the working of the Holy Spirit. When the Man of God closes the "Good Book" men and women should open their hearts and respond to the message of the Word of God. If people respond, it is a result of the Holy Spirit working. We cannot wear them down so that they finally give in.

That is not to say that an extended invitation is never in order. Many people have been saved as a result of an additional verse of Just As I Am. The preacher must be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Also, additional words may be in order on some occasions. However, it is important to preach the message God has given and do so clearly, but when we are finished we must stop preaching and let God work in the hearts of the hearers. The writer of Ecclesiastes gives a firm warning concerning needless talk. Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better. The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him? The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city. Ecclesiastes 10:11-15