Leonard Semenea – „Imparatia Domnului Isus” – A 46-a Conventie a Bisericilor Penticostale Romane SUA / Canada August 30,2014

Alte predici/mesaje de la Conventie:

  1. Cristian Ionescu – “Isus Domneste in Familie”
  2. Lazar Gog –  “Isus Hristos Cunoaste Nevoia Bisericii”
  3. Cornel Avram de la Conventia 2014 – Gandirea “beteaga” despre succes
  4. Cornel Avram – Isus este Domn – Biruinta si Domnia lui Isus in viata noastra (Predica FULL)
  5. Simi Timbuc – “Isus Domneste Azi”
  6. Narcis Popovici – misionar in Nordul Irakului

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Leonard Semenea:

On behalf of the community from Seattle, Washington, on behalf of the community from Southern California, I would like to offer a sincere word of both thanks and appreciation for all that our fellow west coasters have done. We are at a wonderful time, where it feels like one big church service. Looking at the Romanian youth here, and I don’t think I’ve seen you guys since the Youth Convention sin Seattle. But, looking at you all,  here on the platform and in the audience, I am once again reminded of the truth that our american brothers tell us when they come to visit us. Isn’t that right, brother Lane? Romanians are a very talented bunch. And when I look at this youth, I know that with God’s help, there’s nothing we can’t do. May God bless you to keep singing better and better, holier and holier, with more dedication and more dedication. May God bless your parents to keep after you to do it, and our ministers, all of us together, to serve Him, whether it be in Romanian, in English, Iraki, or whatever tongue that will be, for God’s glory and His kingdom. Amen.

Dear friends, the theme that we’re covering this weekend starting with last night, continuing tonight and going on tomorrow morning and evening, is the fantastic theme of the Reign of God. And when we talk about the reign of God tonight, we have a special subtopic on this reign of God. And it’s something that all of us want. It’s a destiny, a place that we all want to get to. I want to go there, I want my kids to go there, and I want everyone who listens to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all of humanity  wants to get there. But, it isn’t just me, it’s especially God who wants everyone to get to this one destiny. It’s this one place and this one place is called „The Kingdom”. In Greek, the βασιλεία (basileia).

The kingdom of God. Now, we’ve heard many theories on what the kingdom of God looks like, what’s going to be there, what’s not going to be there. But our text tonight, specifically Romans chapter 14, specifically verse 17 tells us what the kingdom of  God is going to be like: For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,  But, the kingdom of God is- now, ‘is’ , what follows ‘is’ is a definition. It’s kind of like defining yourself or defining a theory, or defining a chemical formulation. What is it? Well, let’s see what it is.

The kingdom of God  is

  1. Righteousness
  2. Peace
  3. Joy in the Holy Spirit

That defines the kingdom of God.Now, if we all say that we wanna get to this kingdom of God, and I think all of us do want to get there, don’t you think that it would be important for us to see what it’s like in the kingdom of God and what defines this kingdom of God. Tonight, we’re not going to meditate on all 3 of the definitions. We’re gonna stick with one. And that’s the definition of righteousness.

Now, there’s one thing common to us all. And that’s the ease with which we’re distracted, sidetracked. This happens with children doing their homework. As soon as they hear a noise, or as soon as they hear the ice cream truck on the street, or as soon as they smell some food in the kitchen, they’re distracted and they come and we say: „Dar, de ce nu iti face temele?” „Mi foame.” There are more important things to do then ‘do your homework’, we think. Like eating, like drinking, and like doing all sorts of things besides what we should be focused on. Now, kids are easily distracted, and high school students, college students, churchgoers are easily distracted. We could be having a fantastic time in worship. The Spirit of God can be moving powerfully in the auditorium. And then, Romanians have lots of kids, God bless them, and then what happens when a kid walks down the aisle? The preacher better be quiet for a minute cause no one’s paying attention. Why? Cause we’re all so easily distracted. Unfortunately, even pastors, myself and others, get easily distracted and we forget  the things that really matter. We forget the essentials that really count.

Now, this is not a new phenomenon. When Paul writes to the Romans in our text, he finds himself compelled to reorient their thinking, their theology away from things that don’t matter. Away from nonessentials that tend to cloud our thinking. They tend to make us prejudicial towards others, the things that tend to make us judgmental towards others. And he says, „Listen, you guys are barking up the wrong tree. You’re looking in the wrong direction. Don’t let the smell of food distract you. Don’t let the non essentials distract you. Come back and focus on the things that are essential in the kingdom of God. That’s why tonight, by God’s grace, I would like to look through and meditate on one of the permanent essentials that defines the kingdom of God. There are 3 that are mentioned in the text, but as I noted earlier, we’re going to focus on one of these 3.


Now, this is a nonnegotiable item. When I say a permanent essential– it means permanent. It was permanent in the Old Testament, it’s permanent in the New Tesatment. It was permanent in Paul’s time, permanent in the first centuries , the first time and it’s permanent in the 20th and 21st centuries, and until Jesus Christ comes. This is an absolutely permanent essential. When I say ‘essential’, I mean, it’s a first tier item. In other words, you cannot do without this. None of us are going to make it into the heavenly kingdom of God, into the kingdom where God reigns without this first permanent essential item.

This item, in English, is called righteousness. This item, in Romanian, is essential in Romanian also- it is called ‘neprihanire’. This word is a theological word, but it’s also a very practical word. and that is why tonight we are going to look at 2 different aspects of this word. The problem with much of Christendom is they focus on one part of it, neglecting the other part. Tonight we’re gonna take a look at both parts. That’s why, tonight, those of you that have your Scriptures handy, I invite you to pull them out and take a look and see what really counts, what really matters, as far as the kingdom of  God, what defines the kingdom of God.

The word righteousness has 2 implications. One is a forensic implication, and the other is an applicative, practical implication. Not that forensic isn’t practical, because it is, as we will see.

1. Forensic component of righteousness

The forensic definition of righteousness starts out in Romans. And, by the way, the word righteousness appears in the New Testament for a total of at least 92 times. And out of these 92 times, the majority of the times is appears, it’s in Paul’s epistle to the Romans. Forensic righteousness starts out in Romans 1:16 – 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” And here, it’s defined as something that God alone gives to people. It’s a gift that I can do nothing to deserve; I can do nothing to earn. This has absolutely nothing to do with my effort. And if I dare make an effort to gain this, I forfeit it altogether. Now, this is very important, if we don’t have this doctrine straight, if we don’t understand forensic righteousness as something that God gives to me, we void the Gospel. There is no Gospel without forensic righteousness as an act that only God gives. May God be glorified for that!

Verse 17 „For in it”. In what? The Gospel of Jesus Christ. And the righteous is ‘of God‘. Now, this is a condition that is given by God, the minute we hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a power. The Bible says it’s dunamis, it’s God’s dynamite. It’s God’s dynamite that shows us our sin. You see, it takes an act of God, not an act of man, to see that he’s messed up. It takes an act of God for the guy who is walking along and he thinks he’s pretty good, to make him realize that he’s not all that good. That he’s a terrible and miserable sinner. It takes the power of God, it takes the light of God, and it takes the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to where we see God in His holiness and we compare ourselves to God, and we always fall short. That’s the power of the Gospel.. ‘pentru ca mie nu mi-e rusine de evanghelia lui Dumnezeu, pentru ca ea este puterea lui Dumnezeu”- puterea sa ne vedem pacatul. It is the power to see our sin. It is the power that recognizes and admits that we cannot save ourselves. It’s the power that lets us know that we are helpless to do anything to merit salvation. Forensic righteousness is beginning to take root in us when we see that we’re sinful and we see that our state is so pathetic that we can’t even get up off the ground. It’s like seeing that you’re in sinking sand. Seeing that you’re being surrounded by 100,000 terrorists and there’s absolutely nothing that you can do. No effort on your part will save you. That’s the continuation of forensic righteousness.

It also shows us that while we were yet these sinners, that were pathetic, and in all peoples eyes worth nothing. It shows us that this pathetic sinner  who no one, (nimenea nu da doi bani pe el- he’s not worth 2 cents).. you see, we were written off. We were told there was no use in saving him. Asta ii pierdut (This guy is lost) Asta-i drogat. Asta-i prapadit. (This guy’s a drug addict, he’s a loser.) Nu mai este nici o nadejde si nici o speranta pentru el sau pentru ea. Pe nimeni nu-i intereseaza de astfel de persoane. (No one cares about this person). (There is no more hope for this guy/girl). There’s only one person who cares about this type of person. You know who that person is? That person is Jesus Christ and that’s the Gospel of God unto salvation!!! You see, we’re still in forensic righteousness. Forensic righteousness tells us that God of heaven in Romans chapter 3, God out of heaven looked down at us and while we were yet still sinners… We weren’t saved, we couldn’t do deeds of righteousness, we were lost and we were hopeless. Jesus Christ came into the world and said, „Iata-ma, aici sunt. Iata-ma, trimite-ma. Merg sa far voia Ta, Dumnezeule.” (Here I am.; send Me. I come to do Your Will, God.) This is forensic righteousness.

You see, are you beginning to get the idea of what heaven looks like? Are you beginning to get the idea of what heaven feels like? This, of course, again, Romans 3:1-6 This is the great equalizer None of us have ever or could ever earn salvation. I can’t earn it and you can’t earn it. That’s why in heaven, we’re equal citizens. Moses couldn’t earn it, Abraham couldn’t earn it, David couldn’t earn it. Paul couldn’t earn it. The holy apostles couldn’t earn it. And I can’t earn it and you can’t earn it.

The actual righteousness of God

Moving on, once we see our helpless state, God gives us the power to believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. If you’ll open with me to Romans chapter 10 verses 8-12 state as follows-

10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,

and then, verse 8

But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

That means that our text presupposes something. Our text in Romans presupposes that all of us who have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ have responded in our pathetic state. There is only one thing that we can do after recognizing our sin, after seeing we are helpless; only one thing we can do: recognize that God is a God of love, who loves us and reaches down to us, and all we can say is, „God, here I am. Have mercy upon me. If you take me, I’m yours!” And the minute that we say that- and that’s not tough, is it? All you have to do is be pathetic. All you have to do is be messed up. That’s a prerequisite. You can’t get into heaven if you’re not messed up. He didn’t come to seek and save those that are goody-goody two-shoes. He came to seek and save that which was lost. Dear friends, that’s me and that’s you. And when I saw Jesus Christ was interested in my pathetic little life, I said, „Lord, if you want me, you got me.” And in that moment, something fantastic happens. There’s something called  – the actual righteousness of God is transferred to me. 

You see, what happens in forensic righteousness is the minute I come to Jesus Christ and I confess with my mouth  that He is Lord, that I’m a sinner, and that I want salvation; He always reaches out to me! And he always reaches out to you. Now, last night, we prayed for the sick. And, sometimes when we pray for the sick, they’re healed. Praise God for that! But, sometimes they’re not. And praise God for that! But, there’s one thing that happens 100% of the time: whenever a sinner calls on the name of Jesus Christ, and means it with all of his heart and believes in Jesus Christ, guess what? Salvation comes into his heart and he gets something called forensic righteousness, 100% of the time. Praise God for that.

And then, the transfer happens. It’s a good transfer. I give God my gook (mess), I give God my sin, I give God everything that’s bad about me. I give Him my addictions. I give Him my habits, I give Him my personality, and it’s not that good. I give Him absolutely everything, and you know what He gives me in exchange? He gives me whose righteousness? HIS righteousness and that’s why Romans chapter 8:33 says –  33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Este Dumnezeu care…. You know what justifies means, how it’s translated in Romanian? It’s not as nice a word as it is in English – ‘socotit neprihanit’. It takes 2 words. I like ‘justifies’. You know what justified means? Just as if I’d never sinned. The minute I get God’ righteousness, I get God’s justification and He pronounces- ma socoteste neprihanit , as if Leonard, in My eyes, has never sinned, because he’s given the sin to Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ gave him His righteousness. 

Now, do you see why you can’t get into heaven without this? Now, the temptation for Romanian pentecostals is to not trust God. I hate to say it.. I grew up with this temptation. And I want you to hear me clearly. „Ispita poporului Roman este sa nu Il credem pe Dumnezeu ca socoteste neprihanit pe cineva far a nici o fapta.” (The temptation the Romanians tend to fall for is not to believe that God imputes his righteousness to someone without any good deeds attached). And so, we wanna have a deed up our sleeves. We wanna have something in our pocket. Just in case, when we get to heaven, if God’s righteousness is not enough for me, I wanna say, „Da, Doamne, uite, am facut si asta, asta, asta… Am dat 10,000 la conventie. Am facut atatea fate. Am cantat in orchestra, m-am sacrificat. Toate as tea le-am facut.  God, you know, you gotta count that as something!” (trans=Yes, Lord, look here, I did this and this and that… I gave 10,000 grand to the convention. I did so many things. I played in the band, I sacrificed. I did everything.) That voids the whole thing. That has nothing to do with our salvation. We cannot get into heaven because of what we did. Iraqis cannot get into heaven because of what they did. We can only get into heaven because of what He did (Jesus Christ). Hey, praise His name! That’s an equalizer.

2. Applicative righteousness

You see, we’ve really gotta put all our eggs in one basket. You can’t have plan B. In other words, Abraham put all of his eggs in one basket. Genesis 15:6 says Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. All the eggs in one basket. Moses, to whom the law was given, believed in one permanent essential called righteousness. He was made righteous through faith. David was made righteous through faith. The holy apostles, the holy prophets were made righteous through faith. Paul was made righteous through faith. I want to be made righteous through faith. Anybody else here wanna be made righteous through faith? And do you see how easy it is? All you have to do is accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and say

  • PART A – „Lord, I can do nothing.”
  • PART B is applicative righteousness.

Applicative righteousness, dear friends, also starts in Romans chapter 1 They go hand in hand, kind of like the rose. This is the city of roses (Portland), isn’t it? It is very appropriate, you have these beautiful roses here. Let’s say that this rose has 100 petals. That it takes 100 petals to make a rose. Without  100 petals, the rose is incomplete. 50 of these petals are forensic righteousness. With just 50, you have an incomplete or unbiblical  understanding of righteousness. You can’t stop there, because the Bible doesn’t stop there. You need the applicative righteousness. Paul, in our text, that was read from Romans chapter 14, of course, presupposes forensic righteousness. But, he goes on and he understands, and his main idea is the actual applicative righteousness. Let’s take a look at applicative righteousness for the other 50 petals.

It starts in Romans 1:17 –  For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The just shall live by faith.” From faith to faith: You see the other 50 (petals)? Let me read it in Romanian, it’s actually explained a little better in Romanian –  deoarece în ea este descoperită o dreptateoferită de Dumnezeu, care vine din credinţă şi care duce la credinţă, aşa cum este scris: „Cel drept va trăi prin credinţă.“  Dar, daca e ‘prin credinta’, mai trebuie sa duca la credinta? (If it is ‘by faith’, does it still need to lead to faith?) Do you see? The only way that you can actually live out your real faith or real justification, the thing that God gives you, is to actually have faith that’s starts there and continues on. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The just shall live by faith.” 

Once the power of God has come into a life, since penalty and death has been placed on Christ and Christ’s righteousness has been given to us, it is then that we become truly human. Dear friends, we are inhuman before salvation. I want you to understand that. The only people that are truly and fully human are Christians, without wanting to insult anyone else, pentru ca cine este in Hristos este o faptura noua (For he who is in Christ, is a new creation.) Inainte eram morti in pacatele si in greselile noastre. (Before, we were dead in our trespasses). A human isn’t dead. See? We are made alive, truly, to be human beings at salvation. Romans 6:13, and take a look at this applicative righteousness before we get into the practical aspect. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. (Să nu mai oferiţi mădularele voastre păcatului, ca unelte ale nedreptăţii, ci oferiţi-vă pe voi înşivă lui Dumnezeu, ca unii care aţi fost aduşi de la moarte la viaţă şi oferiţi-vă mădularele voastre lui Dumnezeu, ca unelte ale dreptăţii,) That means that once we receive this righteousness, our movement has to be different.

If, before, we walked, tarandu-ne (crawling), our movement has to be different. We now have the same members. Before, my hand was presented to the devil for sin. Now, my hand is presented to God for righteousness. Before, my eyes were presented to the devil for sin. My ears were presented to the devil for sin. These were members of my body. Now, these members of my body must be presented to God for righteousness. Take a look at verse 16 – Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?  Leading to the minute of salvation. You’ve got it. Absolutely. „Dar, duceti pane la cap at…” working out your salvation in fear and trembling. Does anybody here work out? When you work out, you get muscles, you grow endurance, don’t you? We’ve got to work our salvation. We’ve got to live out the second part of righteousness that is part of the same flower. That is what the kingdom of God is about.

So, what does this working out look like? Presenting your members. Romans 12 – A few key elements that count. You know, before I go to the key elements that count, I need to say that in our churches, and I’m specifically speaking to my generation and my context, which is your context (choir and bands) and your context (audience) and most of you who are watching online’s context. To actually understand, and I want you to hear this with all fear of the Lord, to actually understand the Gospel, to actually hear the voice of Jesus Christ, it has to be in a language that you understand.

You know, two Easters ago, in Seattle, our senior Pastor, brother Vasile organized a special Easter service. And you guys all remember the Licurici. I think you guys are gonna see them tomorrow morning. They did a fantastic job, and they sang beautifully. Guess what language they sang in? Romanian. And, batranii se coteau (older folks nudged each others elbows), „Ai vazut ca vorbeste romaneste?” („Did you see that they can speak romanian?”) „Ai vazut ca intelege romaneste?” („Did you see, that they do understand romanian?”) And then, our senior pastor was inspired and wise and said, „Dragi tineri si drag batrani, ei, acuma ne-au cantata noua sa-i intelegem noi. Acuma o sa se produce in limb engleza, sa ne inteleaga ei.” (Dear youth and older folk, the kids sang to us in Romanian, so we can understand them. Now we will preach to them in English, so they can understand us.”) It was well said. Don’t you think it’s time, maybe in 2014, when we start to make more of a transition? So that our kids understand the Gospel? So that our kids can receive forensic righteousness? And so our kids can really understand how to work out their salvation in fear and trembling? Because the kingdom of God is not english or romanian, friends. It’s righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. And these are multilingual.

So, what counts? Paul says, in Romans 12:1 that holiness counts: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Dear friends, if this counts, why aren’t we preaching this? Why don’t we spend 2 weeks or 3 weeks on Romans 12:1? Being distinct… Hear me, being distinct from the world counts.  Do not be conformed to this world. Now, this is the apostle of grace, who understands both forensic and applicative righteousness, justification and sanctification. What does he say? Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

It counts: being humble. Romans 12:3-18 Are we preaching, are we modeling humbleness? Abhorring what is evil counts. Romans 12:9. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Being kind to one another counts. This is what the kingdom is all about. Now, if you guys are gonna be texting mean things, if you guys are gonna be posting mean things all over the internet, and all over snap chat and all over the internet, to make people jealous, and to make people bitter and to make people yucky, and to make people get at the worst in them, this is not righteousness. If we’re bickering amongst each other, this is not righteousness. The question really is: Do we really have this forensic righteousness that leads us to a life that gives glory to God? Clinging to what is good counts. Romans 12:9. Not repaying evil for evil counts. Being salt and light counts. Confessing sin counts. Forsaking sin counts. Growing in Christ counts. Loving each other, which is the second tablet of the law, counts.

In conclusion, dear friends, taking a look at what the kingdom of God looks like, its definition, is there anybody that wants to get there? You know, I wanna get there, because I know that I have done nothing to deserve it. And, when Jesus Christ, on that day, or if anyone asks me, „Leonard, why should I let you into my heaven?” You know what my answer is gonna be? „I have no merits whatsoever. I’m here because I had the nerve  and the courage and the faith to put all my eggs in one basket. I trusted Jesus Christ. And after I trusted Jesus Christ, my life wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t as good as this rose. But, I worked out my salvation in the fear of the Lord, in trembling. And I tried to do all that I could to have my life transformed and changed  and lived out for God. Not through my own efforts, because even that is of God. My prayer for this generation, for me and my family, my kids, for Seattle, L.A., the west coast, for the east coast, for Iraq, is that God would grant us grace to depend on Christ alone, faith alone, and grace alone. Amen.

Predica incepe la minutul 1:26:30 (sau 86:30)

Instructiuni: (VIDEO – Credo TV)

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