In our zeal to do our best, sometimes we might over deliver in a sermon. For example, we might over deliver on the content of the passage so that listeners get the sense that they have no exhausted that passage and so have no need to return to it. We might over deliver on the application of the passage so that listeners get the sense that the work of the passage has been done and they have no need to ponder further how they might live in light of it. We might over deliver on the “experience” of the passage so that listeners get the sense taht heir encounter with God in that passage is now done and they have no real invitation for further engagement with Him.
Let’s be sure to prepare and preach a passage to the best of our ability. The process may be exhausting at times, as well as a delightful privilege. However, the sermon must not exhaust the listener’s sense of invitation. Let’s present the passage in such a way that we invite people into the passage and the Scriptures more. Let’s present the message in such a way that we invite people into the delight of relationship with Christ more.
One example. This Sunday I am preaching the Mary and Martha incident in Luke 10. What a tragedy it would be if I thoroughly satisfied listeners with the key distinction of the priority of relationship with Christ and service for Christ. If people left that sermon happy that they had seen the difference and know what the passage is saying, but do not feel the implicit invitation to join Mary at Jesus’ feet and enjoy that relationship for themselves . . . if that happens, then I may have over-preached.
Preaching is an invitation into the text, more than that, an invitation into the delighted relationship offered to us as God offers His heart in the Word by His Spirit.