I know that this is a bit of an over generalization but, often times, it seems that people walk into church on any given Sunday wanting to hear a message that makes them happy about their current spiritual situation when what they need to hear is a message offering them hope for something better. It is then the preacher’s job not to give the congregation what they want but, rather, what they need. Not pointing fingers but painting a picture of what our potential in Christ could be.
Jesus was fantastic at this! When the Samaritan woman from John 4 simply wanted well water (and to avoid being talked about because of her poor relationship choices) Jesus gave her living water instead. He did this only after exposing her failed efforts at happiness in the past and offering her hope for the future.
People would rather have their actions / lifestyles / sins condoned rather than sit through a message where they might feel convicted. This is where it’s the pastor’s job to share what could be, and should be according to God’s Word, and to then assure them that no matter how far from that picture they feel at that moment that there is hope of redemption through a relationship with Christ.
And as Christian’s we are all called to paint this picture for others by offering ourselves as a canvas whereby God can exhibit the proof of a changed life—not perfect, but being perfected in Christ.