There are always questions about the nature of faith. Is it a performance? Is it knowledge? Is it a response to a command? Here is the definition from Hebrews.
I hope Pastors spend a lot of time working on the nature of preaching because after doing it for a time it can become terrifying. How do you tell the “old, old story” in a new way”? My answer is why does it have to be new? How do I get to the felt needs of the listeners? That was the question I had for a long time and thankfully one of my friends told me that is the stupidest question one can have because most people do not know what their felt needs are anyway. There are as many felt needs as there are people and most of them don’t know what they need. There is a great difference between what we need and what we want. There is another great insult about wants (I am trying to get a catalogue of insults together so that I can have them at hand and use them for any occasion); that most of us are appetites in clothes.
When we look in the Bible “what shall I preach?” the answer was that all flesh is like grass but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Paul was simple – I preach nothing but Christ and Him crucified. We preach the Gospel which is a word of promise. The justification of the sinner of for the sake of Christ is a promise God makes to remember our sins no more. It is important to look at the structure of the sermon. Those of you who listen to them should pay attention carefully. The great Lutheran theologian Oswald Bayer said this about the “word”. think of the Gospel word that is preached.
“If the word becomes an appeal, faith becomes its performance in action. If the word becomes a demonstration, faith becomes insight; if it becomes a statement, faith becomes knowledge. Finally, if the word becomes an expression, faith becomes a ground of existence or a ground of experience given with human being as such. Only if the word is promise (promissio) is faith really faith.”