‘Preach the Word,’ Maryland pastor urges Southern Seminary students
“If there is no faithful, expositional, biblical preaching of God’s Word, then there is no local church,” Fentress said. “God’s Word is central to salvation and central to the life and the ministry of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Fentress charged pastors and would-be pastors to preach the Word from 2 Timothy 4:1-5. A Southern alumnus, Fentress joined the faculty in 2004 as an associate professor of Hebrew and Old Testament interpretation and later served as the dean of intercultural programs. In 2007, he became the pastor at Montrose Baptist Church in Rockville, Maryland, where he continues to serve as the senior pastor.
In his message, Fentress emphasized the urgency, priority, and authority that comes with expository preaching.
“Brothers, when we preach God’s Word, we do so before the Lord, in the presence of the Lord,” Fentress said. “As a matter of fact, the audience to which we preach, whatever human audience it may be, is not in fact the most important audience. Heaven is the most important; God is the most important audience in our preaching. … God knows what your people need and God will give you his Word so that we may proclaim it faithfully to his people.”
The “divine calling” of preaching indicates the urgency and priority of the message as well as a way to exercise the authority of the message, Fentress said. He issued a challenge not only to pastors but also to Christians who make up the body of the church to take seriously the Bible.
“I have often said to my congregation on many occasions, ‘I know something about your walk with the Lord and how you’re walking with the Lord by the fact as to whether or not you take the preaching of God’s Word and worship on Sunday morning seriously,’” Fentress said. “To be present and accounted for does mean something in the life of every Christian believer. The humility and willingness to sit under the authority of the preaching of God’s Word means something. It is a mark of salvation.
“For people who desire to sit under the teaching and the explanation and the exposition of God’s Word reflect the heart of God, reflect the glory of God in so doing. That’s why preaching is central to the local church and central to the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ and it is also central to the very nature of the church. … Only the Word of God has the power to redeem the human soul.”
He explained the five imperatives in verse 2 form the content of Paul’s charge to both Timothy and to believers today, and he concluded with an encouragement to pastors about preaching God’s Word faithfully.
“God’s Word is sufficient and totally able to accomplish his purpose, not only in his church, but also in the world,” Fentress said. “We have been given the imperative to preach the Word and to do so faithfully.”
Audio and video of Fentress’ sermon are available online at sbts.edu/resources.