In Seminary, I was taught to preach in such a way that leads people to understand the context of a passage and its meaning to the original readers. My task is then to lead them to points of application of the timeless principles represented within the passage. I was also told (and have learned by experience) that I can’t make every passage apply equally to everybody.
Does this mean I should send out notices to people when I preach saying, “This week the sermon will only apply to women with small children, the rest of you can stay home.” That would be silly, at best. For one, the sermon is only one part of the service (a very important part). Secondly, even if a sermon does not directly offer a point of application for someone at their current phase in life, they still need to hear from God’s word. The promise from scripture is that all scripture is, and will be, useful to them in becoming equipped and godly (2 Tim. 3:16–17).
David Gundersen has written an excellent article for the Gospel Coalition titled “Why you need sermons that don’t directly apply to you.” Take a moment to read the article. I believe it will help you better under understanding this thing we call preaching and how God uses it to equip his saints.