A Message by Pastor Stephen Galvano
Rochester Christian Church Ministries International
The apostle Paul in I Peter 1:13, says this: “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
People don’t understand how to live holy in these days. We think that God is like a good uncle, or a good grandfather. God is not your grandfather, and God is not your uncle. God is your father. Any good father who loves his children, he will discipline them. And if we do not live according to his standards, he will not wink at sin. He has never covered sin under the carpet.
The Bible says that sin sometimes hinders us from receiving what God has for us. And God is checking even our own church, searching every individual here of how holy we are living for Him.
For the Bible says in Leviticus, “Be ye holy, for the LORD your God is holy.” And God requires, not that women wear long dresses, or having no earrings or necklaces or no rings, that is not holiness—that is an outward appearance of holiness, though I believe every lady ought to have these things; if they’re available, buy them and look beautiful. But that is not what the Bible is saying. It speaks about the holiness that comes from the heart—worthy, adorned for the Bridegroom, ready to be welcomed and loved.
We need to be motivated to repent. The Bible says in Revelation 3:3, “Repent and return to your first works.” You know how many of us have left our first love for Jesus? Really, how many of us really love Jesus the same way we loved him when we were saved? Remember when you came at the alter, you were crying every service, there were tears of joy? Somebody came up to you and said,
“What’s the matter with you honey?”
“I love Jesus?”
“Is that why?”
“Well How come I’m not crying anymore?” Because you’re getting hard. You’re getting so rotten hard. And today many believers are hard. You know the older I’m getting, the more I weep before God. Not because I’ve got problems, all of us have problems, and the devil will hit you more, left and right, the older you and the more mature you become.
But I cry because I stand amazed in His presence knowing that God loves me, He embraces me, He truly died on the cross just for me. And if I do anything evil, I want to repent the same time I do it, because I want to please Jesus. And I want to be able, every time I go to a service, to cry be able to be broken before God, be able not to be hard, but having brokenness in my spirit.
I was told in church four things that God spoke to me in 1992, as I was going through my personal trials in life. And I was really seeking God’s face, “Lord, use this not to be stumbling block, but use this to be a stepping stone in my life.” And God said, “Stephen, you need to do four things for you to stay open and not deceived. Number one, you need to be broken.” When you’re broken then you can be open.
You know, you find Christians coming to church, they’re so tied, they’re so bound. I mean they never have a smile on their face. Some of you look like you lost your best friend this morning. Why? Jesus is your source. There’s no one else you can go to. I don’t care what they do me, I know God is my protector, God is my source, God is my all in all, praise the name of the Lord, thank you Jesus.
So, John says, “Repent and do the first works.” Remember when the Lord saved you, how soft and gentle you were? You heard the Word of the Lord and your heart broke. You couldn’t wait to until you went home and share the Gospel with someone next door to you. You couldn’t wait until you came to church on Sunday morning and said, “I want to bring somebody to church.”
What happened? And we who are waiting for the Second Coming, we need to repent and do the first works, to love and love Jesus with all our hearts. When you’re open, your broken, you’re open. Then when you’re open, you become transparent. Be open, transparent, have nothing to hide.
The devil might have something in your mind saying, “What’s behind him?” I don’t need you, you don’t need me, we need each other. I’m not here because I need you; I’m here because I need Jesus.
“Be faithful, and you shall gain the crown of life.” Faithfulness, that’s what the Lord requires. The song we sing, “Faithfulness”, is what Jesus is all about. He is faithful and true. If you read Revelation, you’ll find, “And here comes the faithful and the true wife.” As a bride, are we faithful to the Lord, really truly faithful? Do we really love Him? Do we make him jealous of our time? Do we make Him jealous of our talents? Do we make Him jealous of our gifts? Do we make Him jealous of how we spend our money for other things before we spend money on His Kingdom? Be faithful.
See, His Second Coming should motivate me not only to watch Him, not only to be sober, not only to repent daily, but also to be faithful to Him.
As a Christian watching for His Coming, I’m proud of Christ. Proud. The Bible says in the book of Romans 1:16, and Paul was speaking to the church in Rome, “I’m not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” Not ashamed. The whole world will now I’m a Christian.
Let me ask you, when you at lunchtime, are with your friends at work, are afraid to bring your Bible and read it? When you go to the store, are you sharing a word about Jesus? Are you proud of Christ? That’s what, as Christians, we ought to do.
What I am motivated to do by His Second Coming is to guard against being worldly. You know, today the world the world is coming to the Church. Instead of the Church going out to the world, the world has come to the church. And what’s happened is, we’re no longer Christianizing our Western civilization, the Western civilization is coming the Church. We are westernizing our Church, so now we have to a choir, we have to have instruments, we have to have a preacher with a gown and golden garb, and we have to have a Doctor’s degree, and twenty-five rings. I mean that’s the culture today, we have the wrong impression of the Church. And it’s all worldliness.
Let me tell you, if you watch television today, some of these Christian stations are a disgrace to God’s Kingdom, because the money that could be spent for missions and for the work of God and for souls go into all this stupidity that is not really necessary.
Be moderate. Don’t be an extremist, be moderate, which means do not scare people away from the Gospel, and do not bring them into sin. If you’re a Christian, let them know that you’re a Christian. Do not be flaky.
But yet, do not be like them, do not go at their level, you bring them up to you’re level. But don’t be flaky, be yourself. Be a Believer, proclaim the Gospel of the grace of God. Be mature in His grace.
Involve yourself with people. “They’re not Christian, I won’t go to that place.” Well who’s going to go to these places? You know that today, the bar tender is more famous than the pastor? People go where people will listen to them. “The bartender listened to my troubles, so I go there and drink, and give my money, my tithe.
We don’t understand that people are lonely. They need someone like us. We’ve been deceived by the preacher saying, “Be friendly.” People don’t want you to be friendly anymore. They want a friend. They want someone they can take by the hand and say, “Come with me, stay with me, listen to me, I have a problem, will you please hear me out, I don’t know my way out, if you know Jesus as your savior, tell me, show me my way out of my trial.
Be patient. That’s one thing I need. I want God to do things yesterday. That’s one thing that God is working in me. But I don’t want to pray for patience, because patients brings me tribulation. I’ve had enough of those. But I have to be very gentle in waiting for him.
Put away fleshly desires. Today we are living in a permissive generation. You can do whatever you want to do. I mean, everything is available to us. That’s why you need integrity in your personal life. Not because your parents are watching you, young people, not because your teacher told you not to cheat on the test, but do not go to Wegmans or Tops and take that candy and put it in your pocket or eat it, or steal the t-bone steak and stick it in your chest—many people do that—but do not do that, because you are a man of integrity.
And you must put away anything that your flesh wants to do. That’s why self- control is that last on the list of the fruits of the Spirit, because it is the hardest to do.
Be sincere. You know, it’s so hard to be sincere, especially if you were raised to be a con artist. The word sincere came from the Latin words sin, and cere, which mean “without wax.” Let me tell you what the word sincere means. In the old Roman time, there were professional people who made furniture. And the government gave them a law that you can sell defected furniture, but people have to know it before they buy it.
So, if somebody made the wrong cut, they didn’t want to throw the whole piece of furniture away, so they used wax, and covered that spot. Nobody could tell, but it was not the authentic wood. But they had to put on it a sign saying, “sensa, cere.” But the ones that did not have the word were pure. They were without anything; it was a perfect piece of wood. There was no wax.
As Christians we need to break before God and say, “God, I don’t know what else I can do, I’m sincere before you, oh God. Lord, I’m sincere, there’s nothing hidden in my heart. I don’t have a hidden personal agenda, Lord, what’s your will?” I want to be sincere.
Be holy before God.
Be faithful as a minister, we’re all ministers of God.
Abide in Christ.
Endure tests. We’re living in an age where no one wants to be tested anymore. But faith is not faith until it is tested. Don’t pray for faith, because you can never have faith unless God tests your faith. Anybody can say, “Well Lord, I have faith,” but your faith must be tested. And the more trials you have the more faith you will have, but the more testing you will have. And we live in an age that no one wants to go through the test anymore. We all want things from God, but not like this anymore.
Show love. Show love. I don’t mean love that’s Eros, or phelio, or sexual love or friendly love. God is calling us to show agape love. Love which has one way, “I love you, whether you love me or not, I will love you. That’s what Jesus did on the cross.
I’ll tell you, Jesus didn’t feel good. Sometimes we think we can love people “When I feel good, when I sense in my spirit I need to love you,” no, no, I don’t think he said, “Father, I can’t wait till I die, oh I can’t wait,” no, no. “Father if it’s possible, remove this cup from me.”
He didn’t want to die, he was human. But because he loved us, he looked beyond the cross—he saw Stephen Galvano, he saw Howard, he saw Jackie, he saw Rochelle and James, Amos, Fred, Jeremy. He saw Matthew, he saw Camilla. He saw all these people. He said yes, I’m going to suffer. I’m going to hurt. But I’m not going to deny my love for them.
Let me tell you, love costs you something. The Good Samaritan, it cost him something to redeem the man who was wounded, almost half dead.
If you’re going to be a Christian, it will cost you something. The Bible says if you’re a Christian, deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow me. Jesus said “Count the cost before you build a house.” It takes work. It takes our heart. It takes money. It takes your love. It takes your life. Praise the name of the Lord. Show love. Let no one ever leave this church saying, “Nobody loved us in the church,” may God help us. May God help us. May God help us. That no one will ever come to this church and say, RCC didn’t show love.
There might not be to many people here, but I pray that all of us can really be broken before God, and people that come in broken, may be able to go back healed—somebody embraced them. Somebody loved them. Somebody cared for them. And because I’m looking for the Second Coming of Christ, I want to love others. That’s what motivates me every day.
We’re going to Africa, and I’ll tell you, I don’t want to go in the flesh, I don’t want to go. I hate to fly; I really don’t want to go in the flesh. But when I forget about the flesh, I look at thousands of people. We have four thousand pastors waiting for us in the city of Mbasa, four thousand pastors that already signed up for the seminar—four thousand pastors.
Pastor Elisha said, “You have about two hundred and fifty thousand people coming to the crusades every night.” That’s worth going. That’s worth going because sometimes we have to deny the flesh to show love and concern. Praise God, Amen. Thank you Jesus. Praise God, show love.
Be reminded of our standing. Remember.
Look for Christ everyday.
Have confidence in Christ.
Guard against hasty judgments. Do not be easy to judge people. Do not judge people.
Love them, care for them, hear them, under stand them.
Pastor Stephen Galvano
Rochester Christian Church Ministries International