Note: This post is part six in a six-part series on how the book of Jude demonstrates qualities of a good sermon.
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (ESV)
As you notice in verse 24, Jude does not cut off his letter with an abrupt ending. Neither should the preacher. Many times preachers leave the conclusion or the invitation as an afterthought of sermon preparation. When doing so, the landing of the plan either circles the tower incessantly or bounces off the ground twice from being forced to descend too quickly. A well-planned landing smoothly touches down with grace and precision. In a similar manner, a well-planned sermon conclusion should give a clear passionate call for action full of grace and precision. While a poorly planned or implemented invitation cannot limit God, it certainly does not persuade men as though Christ himself were pleading.
Jude also avoids moralistic teaching by pointing back to God’s grace. In fact, he turns the conclusion into a doxology—an offering of worship and praise to God. Jude ends his letter with a reminder that only Jesus Christ our Lord can keep us from stumbling and present us blameless before the presence of God. He also repeats his early exclusive claim in verse 3 of “the” faith by writing in verse 25 “the ‘only’ God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jude contends for an exclusive faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation and heaven.
Too many sermons simply provide rules and regulations resulting in moralistic preaching or legalistic living. “Do this, don’t do that, and you will be a good Christian.” Listeners then try to live in their own power and find themselves identifying more with the I, me, and my of failure in Romans 7 than with the victorious power of the Spirit in Romans 8. Jude says that only Jesus can keep us from stumbling and present us blameless. It all comes back to grace. It all comes to a marvelous grace—a grace for which we must contend.