Busy pastors must always fight the tendency to crank out sermons.
The signs that you are preparing a sermon in crank out mode are manifold. You read your passage through once or twice. As you read, you look immediately for application. You divide the text up into its parts, not to break down the author’s flow of thought, but to build up your sermon outline. Finally, you flip through the commentaries to see what the stuff in the passage means.
In the end we have a sermon. We might have a sense of what the author sought to communicate to his original readers. We might even have legitimate applications that will show God’s people how to lovingly obey him.
But it will be impossible for us to preach from our heart. You will preach from the pages of your manuscript, lifeless and without unction.
Why is this?
It’s because the sermon was never in your heart in the first place. You didn’t give the Spirit enough time either to work the passage into you, or to work you over with it.
So, brothers, in your sermon prep, be quick only to reread the text. Let your eyes be a rotisserie over your passage – turning, turning, and turning over it. That way the sweet juices of the passage will be cooked into you, and God’s people will be able to taste and see that he is good.