Preaching through Ruth provides a good test case for exploring how to preach the end of a series. That’s because it is so short. The space between the end of the book and the beginning of the book is small. It is relatively easy to conclude with a comparison or contrast to the beginning.
So, when you conclude a sermon series consider:
- re-emphasizing the series theme (in Ruth: Discovering God as “the Restorer of life” conveniently found at the end in 4:15; chapter 4 provides tons of opportunities to re-explain facets of redemption, including our need to become mini-redeemers in our world)
- showing how far we’ve come from the beginning of the series (especially important in a narrative like Ruth; we began at the end of the Judges with no king, in great need of one, and end Ruth with an announcement of King David in 4:22; plus in the middle Ruth and Boaz are two characters who do not do what is right in their own eyes)
- teaching how the book contributes to the Canon of Scripture (in this case, what does Ruth add to the Story; this will overlap some with the first bullet point above; if you didn’t have Ruth, what would we miss?)
- reminding congregants about what God has done in Christ (especially important if you are completing a series through a NT epistle of Paul; usually, the letters will begin with the indicative and move on to imperatives; the end of the series is a good time to remind us all of the indicatives which were the foundation of the more practical sections)
- convey a sense of corporate accomplishment (“We’ve traveled a lot of biblical ground together during this series…”; ending a series is a bit emotional, bitter/sweet; I have found that congregations that experience such travels begin to anticipate the next journey with you)
Preach series well so God receives glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21).
P.S. If you’re preaching Ruth chapter 4, consider the following path:
- Two kinds of redemption (spiritual and material; a time to carefully define redemption in its various forms in the story)
- The redemption we’re responsible for (vv. 1-10 and how God’s laws create opportunities for us to be mini-redeemers for those in need)
- The blessing that came and comes through redemption (vv. 11-22; here we find the wonderful announcement of our selected theme and the trajectory created by Boaz and Ruth’s son)