Exhorting preachers to ‘never let men feel that you would gospel would be satisfied with mere decency’, Phillips Brooks makes the point that when addressing the outworking of sin the preacher should never leave their hearer with the sense that all we desire is modified behaviour.
While challenging sinful behaviour, our true goal is to point each person to that which lies within, that which is there regardless of behaviour, that which needs to meet the healing power of the Christian gospel.

[the Christian preacher] is the messenger of Christ to the soul of man always. His sermon about temperance, or the late election, or the wickedness of oppression, is not an exception, an intrusion in the current of that preaching which is always testifying of the spiritual salvation. He is ready to speak on any topic of the day, but his sermon is not likely to be mistaken for an article from some daily newspaper. It looks at the topic from a loftier height, traces the trouble to a deeper source, and is not satisfied except with a more thorough cure.

Phillips Brooks, The Joy Of Preaching, Kregel Classics, 1989, pg. 110.

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