August 27, 2023

Be on Your Guard!

Written by:
Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Sobriety and vigilance are crucial to living a victorious Christian life. The Greek word for “sober” (nēphō) means being temperate or abstinent, especially with respect to wine. It is an antonym for the state of mind caused by drunkenness and is used more broadly to refer to spiritual and moral sobriety, a clear-thinking and self-controlled mental state that is free from confusion and unbridled passions. The Greek word for “vigilance” (grēgoreō) refers to alertness and watchfulness. When used together, these words exhort Christians to live with self-control and constant awareness against snares and temptations of sin.

At no time should we be heedless or unguarded. Our minds must always stand on guard against the most minute and unobservable encroachment of sin. Even that which appears to be harmless can lead us to great spiritual and moral perils. Not surprisingly, it has been said that “the enemy that is least feared is usually the soonest felt.”

How often we have heard Christian men regretfully say,  “Oh,  I fell  in an unguarded moment; the temptation came so suddenly!” But why were they off their guard? Is it not because they had lived carelessly and wantonly? We  must not indiscriminately accept every invitation given  to us. We must carefully analyse every overture made to us, whether it would undermine our commitment to our Saviour and  Lord.

Our vigilance must be comprehensive. Let none be too cocksure that he will not be overtaken by certain kinds of temptation. While we resist one form of evil, let us not forget that there are other subtle temptations in the world. While we watch against external forces that are bent on destroying our walk with God, let us also be on guard against internal passions that are equally perilous. If we are not vigilant, though we may watch against fleshly lusts, we may still give room (knowingly or unwittingly) in our hearts for pride, self-righteousness, and the like.

All such allurements of sin originate in our chief adversary, Satan. He is like a mighty, ferocious lion at our door, waiting to pounce on us and devour us. Let us not carelessly open the door of our heart. Satan, like a lion, would pounce on his prey, unseen and unsuspected. He is not only powerful and ferocious, he is also very crafty. So, be on your guard!

Testimony of Abishek, a GBI (India) Student

My name is Kambam Abhishek Raju. I was born into a Hindu family in Andhra Pradesh. My parents did not have children for the first seven years of their marriage. So, they frequently visited Hindu temples and prayed to many gods and goddesses for children. They also sought medical help, but to no avail. They lost hope of having children. Relatives of my father looked down on my mom. It was rather common in our society that childless women were insulted by people. My parents were very troubled. A pastor who visited them shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and also assured my parents that the Lord will hear their prayer. Then onwards, they started attending church regularly. They trusted the Lord Jesus, and eventually took an oath in prayer to dedicate the first son to the full-time ministry if God would give them children. Soon after, my mother conceived and gave birth to me. The Lord also blessed my parents with three more baby girls. These gracious blessings strengthened their faith. A few years later, several relatives from both sides of my parents came to believe in Christ. I underwent baptism while I was studying in 10th standard. However, we were part of the ‘Oneness Pentecostal’ denomination, which denied the Trinity.

Upon completion of my studies, due to family financial problems, I went to work for two years as a Sales Executive in Maruti Suzuki (an automobile company). My parents started to strongly urge me to go for theological studies and prepare for the ministry. After much prayer and consideration, I became convinced that the Lord wanted me to resign from my job to go for theological studies. With the guidance and help of my friend Teja, who was already part of a Presbyterian church, I joined the Presbyterian Theological Seminary (PTS) in Dehradun, India. There, I started to gain a proper understanding of the biblical truths, which strengthened my faith. When I was in my 2nd year of studies in PTS, I was convicted of the truth of the Trinity. I talked to the faculty about my conviction, and I asked them to baptise me in the name of the Triune God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. While I was in my final seminary year, I was ‘finally’ baptised in the name of the Triune God in Good Shepherd Church, which is closely affiliated with the seminary and where I had been worshipping for three years.

After completing my theological studies, I went to the pastor of my home church to explain to him the doctrine of the Trinity. But he didn’t listen to me, so I stopped attending that church. Now, I am working to plant a Reformed church in my hometown Kakinada to share the biblical Gospel with my own people. I have a heavy burden towards my hometown people, so I am currently working among them.

I didn’t receive any personal call through dreams or prophecies to be a pastor, but by reading the Bible regularly and spending much time in prayer, I recognised God’s calling in my life. God also kept the burden in my heart to share the Gospel with people who don’t know Christ, and to take care of the souls of those who believe in Him. Some of my friends and faculty members of PTS recognised my gifts, and encouraged me to work towards being a pastor. In this way, I have confirmed my calling as a pastor.

In the process, one of my faculty members, Dr Vijay Tagore (who works as a New Testament professor in PTS), gave me the contact number of Rev. Sujith Samuel to work along with the Bible-Presbyterian Church. And after talking with Rev. Sujith, I felt it is a good opportunity to work with this church to be involved in God’s ministry. So I have, as a first step, committed myself to learning in GBI. I thank God for this opportunity.

Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church adheres to the system of faith commonly known as the “Reformed Faith” as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
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