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Sanctuary Blog

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The Grace of Salvation

Theme: Insights into the Grace of Salvation

Topic: The Grace of Salvation

Topic: Titus 2:11-15 (NLT) "...the grace of God...bringing salvation..."

Author: Pastor Ron Williams

Date: 10/13/20

Introduction: The Grace of God is wonderful, yet almost incomprehensible. The maxim, "there is no such thing as a free lunch," is more truth than fiction. We learn from early childhood that almost everything has a price. Being a good little girl or boy earns parental approval. Good grades and good behavior earns "A's" and "B's." Excellent work earns excellent pay. It is quite natural to believe that keeping the rules of religion gains us favor with God. Therein is the rub, try as we may, rule keeping is not our strong suit. What we need IS GRACE, "marvelous, infinite, matchless race, Grace Greater Than All Our Sin, freely bestowed on all who believe." A Saving Grace that...

l. Changes our behavior: the Grace of Salvation turns us away from a life absorbed with self to a life devoted to God vv. 11-12

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.  And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God 


ll. Alters our destiny: the Grace Salvation rescues us from hell and ransomes us for heaven v. 13

 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.  

lll. Inspires our service: the Grace of Salvation unites us with Christ in service to his people vv. 14-15 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what.

Conclusion: There may be no such thing as a free lunch but I assure you there is such a thing as a "FREE SALVATION." Though it is free it is COSTLY.  " So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. " 1Peter 1:17-19. This then is our invitation, "all who are longing to see his face will you this moment his grace receive?"

Making the Most of Opportunity

Theme: Making the Most of Opportunity

Topic: Opportunity Knocks

Text: Colossians 4:2-6 (NLT) "...make the most of every opportunity." v.5

Author: Pastor Ron Williams

Date: 10/3/20

Introduction: Could it be that a jail cell could afford an opportunity to write a letter, that is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago? Oh, yes indeed! Such is the letter of the Apostle Paul written to the Church of Collossia. This short letter is among the finest in its teaching of the Supremacy of Christ, and the mysterious plan of salvation procured by him. In chains, Paul preached the good news of salvation to visitors, prisoners and prison guards. He made the most of every opportunity. I don't know your present circumstance, but I am certain that in it you can find a golden opportunity to advance the message of the Gospel of Christ. If you...

l. Pray earnestly: asking that opportunities may abound and that the "message" might be clear vv. 2-4

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.

ll. Behave wisely: take the "message" in, and live the "message" out v.5

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.

lll. Speak confidently: proclaiming the "message" graciously and attractively v. 6

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive[a] so that you will have the right response for everyone.

Conclusion: Ask God to open your spiritual eyes to see the opportunities that surround you. Become a "living" letter read by the people in your sphere of influence, in a lifestyle that reflects the beauty of Jesus. And when asked, graciously tell others your salvation story and invite them to join you in following Christ. This my ambition and prayer for you and me. Amen

Exalting Father, Our fathers God

Theme: Exalting Father, Our fathers God

Topic: Our Fathers God

Text: Exodus 15:1-2 (NIV) "... This is my fathers God, and I will exalt him!"

Author: Pastor Ron Williams

Date: 9/23/20

Introduction: What a glorious occasion it was! God sent a fierce wind that blew all night. The Red Sea parted, and in the morning an estimated three million Israelites marched across the ocean floor to the dry land. Mighty Pharaoh and his army followed them into the sea and drowned. God's people where now free from thehorrors of many generations of slavery in the land of Egypt. Their arch enemies were no more. In honor of this miracle, Moses and the Israelites sang," I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he hurled into the sea. The Lord i s my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my fathers God, and I will exalt him." Millenniums later we join with them exalting our fathers God, for he is


l. Our Song: we sing anthems of praise for who is and what great things he has done v.1

"I will sing to the Lord..."

ll. Our Strength: he empowers and protects and we become courageous in mind, body, and spirit v.2

"The Lord is my strength and my defense..."

lll. Our Salvation: he forgives our sins, liberates us from bondage, rescues us from peril, makes us holy and welcomes us into heaven (All through the atonement of his only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ) v. 2

"...he has become my salvation..."

Conclusion: As I mused on the song of Moses, a song of David came to mind. And I began singing, "For thou Oh Lord art high over all the earth, thou art exalted far above all other gods. For thou Oh Lord art high over all the earth, thou art exalted far above all other gods. And I exalt thee, I exalt thee Oh Lord." (from Psa 97:9). Will you join me in making the God of Our Fathers your God and exalt him above all others. It is our privilege, our duty. Amen!

A Template for Overcoming the Troubling

Theme: A Template for Overcoming the Troubling

Topic: Overcoming the Troubling

Text: Psalm 64:1-10 (NLT) "...the godly rejoice and find shelter in him.."v.10

Author: Dr. Ron Williams

Date: 9/18/20

Introduction: The last month has been a proverbial "Bear" for me. College duties, church responsibilities, family concerns, Covid, wildfires in my neighborhood, auto repairs, doctor appointments and the overall craziness in the world of today have deeply troubled me. Maybe you, like me, are troubled if not overcome by it all . Psalm 64 serves as a template, pattern, model, paradigm, strategy, and/or instructions for overcoming what is troubling us. When we are troubled this Psalm instructs us to...

l. Tell God what troubles us: make him our complaint department, he has big shoulders to cry on vv. 1-6

O God, listen to my complaint.

    Protect my life from my enemies’ threats.

Hide me from the plots of this evil mob,

    from this gang of wrongdoers.

They sharpen their tongues like swords

    and aim their bitter words like arrows.

They shoot from ambush at the innocent,

    attacking suddenly and fearlessly.

They encourage each other to do evil

    and plan how to set their traps in secret.

    “Who will ever notice?” they ask.

As they plot their crimes, they say,

    “We have devised the perfect plan!”

    Yes, the human heart and mind are cunning.

ll. Trust God to solve our problems: he avenges the righteous and punishes the wicked vv. 7-8

But God himself will shoot them with his arrows,

    suddenly striking them down.

Their own tongues will ruin them,

    and all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.

lll. Talk about the wonder of God: change the conversation with others- begin talking about who is, rejoicing in what he has done, and joyfully anticipating what he will do vv.9-10

Then everyone will be afraid;

    they will proclaim the mighty acts of God

    and realize all the amazing things he does.

10 The godly will rejoice in the Lord

    and find shelter in him.

And those who do what is right

    will praise him.

Conclusion: This template has stood the test of time, and has never failed to turn trouble into triumph for all who "shelter" in the Lord. Let's together, put this into practice NOW!

Holiness is Not an Option

Theme: Holiness is Not an Option it is an Absolute Necessity

Topic: Holiness is Not an Option

Text: 1 Peter 1:13-25 (NLT) "...You must be holy because I am holy." v.16

Author: Dr. Ron Williams

Date: 9/4/20

Introduction: Any Biblical teaching taught to the extreme becomes a false teaching. A major imbalance in the teaching of Christianity today is the emphasis on the love of God, to the near exclusion of an emphasis on the holiness of God. Too often God is presented as a doting grandparent patiently tolerating the mischievous behavior of a grandchild. His love is proclaimed in such a way that requires little or no accountability to him. Too often the dire consequence of sin is ignored and dignity of God is defiled. Twenty centuries ago the message of the Love of God was balanced with the message of the Holiness of God. It is time for the people of God to return to the message of his holiness, for holiness is not an option it is a command, "YOU MUST BE HOLY FOR I AM HOLY," says God! Holiness is the act of God whereby he sets us apart for his purpose, filling us with the Spirit of Holiness by which we are enabled to fulfill his purpose. The message of Holiness...

l. Serves as the standard of morality: reminding us that the Holiness of God is the standard for moral perfection, and that we are sinners in desperate need of redemption vv. 13-17

13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”[a]

17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary resident

ll. Serves as the roadmap to redemption: the precious blood of Christ was the price of our redemption and a motivation for a lifestyle of holy living vv.18-22

18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.

21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters.[b] Love each other deeply with all your heart.[c]

lll. Serves as the gateway to eternal life: life as God has, begun in time and fully realize in the ages to come vv.23-25

23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say,

“People are like grass;

    their beauty is like a flower in the field.

The grass withers and the flower fades.

25     But the word of the Lord remains forever.”[d]

And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.

Conclusion: While holiness isn't an option, it is a real possibility. Even more so, it is desirable. When we place our faith in the person and work of Christ we experience new birth. A spiritual birth, by which we become children of the living God, endowed with all the privileges of his family. When we learn of his absolute holiness and our abject sinfulness, we better understand the wonder of his love. We then love him because he first loved us. Such amazing love motivates us,and his Spirit enables us to live our lives in the ways that please him. In this way we experience our best possible lives. Holiness is Not an Option - aren't you glad it isn't?

Make God Smile

Theme: Characteristics of People Who Make God Smile

Topic: Make God Smile

Text: Psalm 4:1-8 (NLT) "Let your face smile on us, Lord..." v.6

Author: Dr. Ron Williams

Date: 8/28/20

Intro: I despise having to wear a goofy mask during this pandemic. I drool in it and it feels like I am suffocating! What I dislike most is I can't tell whether people are frowning or smiling . By nature I am generally a smiler, even when I am unaware of it. our lips say more than words, they express moods and temperament. Happy, sad, mad. approval and disapproval are expressed from the perse of lips. I like to smile and I like being smiled at. But what I cherish most is the smile of GodHave you thought about what makes him smile? People who make God smile...

l. Are humble: contrite and dependent vv.1-2

Answer me when I call to you,

    O God who declares me innocent.

Free me from my troubles.

    Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people ruin my reputation?

    How long will you make groundless accusations?

    How long will you continue your lies

ll. Are confident: The Lord answers their prayers and transforms their characters vv.3-5

You can be sure of this:

    The Lord set apart the godly for himself.

    The Lord will answer when I call to him.

Don’t sin by letting anger control you.

    Think about it overnight and remain silent. Interlude

Offer sacrifices in the right spirit,

    and trust the Lord.

lll. Are joyful: they have happy hearts and smiling faces vv. 6-7

Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”

    Let your face smile on us, Lord.

You have given me greater joy

    than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.

lV. Are peaceful: at peace with God, others, self, and they sleep well at night v. 8

In peace I will lie down and sleep,

    for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

Conclusion: Good questions to ask are, Am I the kind of person that makes God smile? Am I humble in heart, confident in him, a joyful person, and at peace with God, people and myself? If not, I must repent of my prideful independence, silly self confidence, lack of joy and peace. We must more fully entrust all we are, have, and say, and do to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If you and I do this God will smile at us!

Right for Wrong

Theme: How to be Right with God in a World gone Wrong

Topic: Right for Wrong

Text: Romans 3:21-31 (NLT) "Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight..." v.24

Author: Dr. Ron Williams

Introduction: It's the season for "mud slinging" and "smear campaigning" in the USA. For the next couple of months the nation will be bombarded by politicians, of all stripes telling us how bad things are in America. And things in America are bad! But things are also bad in nations worldwide. Since Adam disobeyed God in Eden it has been this way. As the campaigns for heat up for the office of the President of the USA, the pronouncements will become more and more dire. The solutions that are being offered are the same old ones that have failed in the past. These ideas are not all bad, but they won't solve the problems that the world is facing today. The root problem is not that things have gone wrong, but that people have gone wrong with God. Only if and until people are made right with God, will the downward spiral of nations into the pit of total depravity come to a halt. Sin is the root of all that is evil and deprives us of all that is good! We may not be able to stem the tide of evil that has engulfed the nations, but we can put a halt to it in our lives. We do it by becoming "Right" with God! If you question whether or not you are in right with God...

l. Admit you a are sinners; sinners by nature and practice and subject to the wrath of God vv. 21-23

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses[a] and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

ll. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ: believe in his person (who he is) and his work (becoming the atoning sacrifice for sinners) vv.24-26

24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

lll. Let go of legalism: relinquish rules based religion, rely on faith based redemption, and stop trying to save yourself vv. 27-28

27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

lV. Experience the blessings of God's grace: union with Christ and the benefits of a life lived in obedience to God vv.29-31

29 After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. 30 There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.[b] 31 Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.

Conclusion: We can be wrong on a number of issues and with countless people. But no one can afford to be wrong with God. To be wrong with him is to deprive ourselves of the best possible life in the here and now. A life of joy and peace in union with Christ. The greater peril is spending an eternity away from the grace and goodness of God, in the fiendish presence of the devil and his cohorts. The day of Salvation is now, and if you have not yet received the free gift of eternal life, do so by submitting yourself to Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior . Simply ask him into your life and I urge you to do it now.

Meet the Messiah

Theme: The Mystery, Might and Majesty of The Messiah

Topic: Meet the Messiah

Text: John 5:1-14 (NLT)

Author: Dr. Ron Williams

Introduction: "He became sin, who knew no sin that we might become his righteousness, He humbled himself and carried the cross, love so amazing, love so amazing

His body, the bread, his blood, the wine, broken and poured out all for love, the whole earth trembled, and the veil was torn, love so amazing, love so amazing

All our hope is in you, all our hope is in you, all glory to you, God, the light of the world

Jesus Messiah, name above all names, Blessed redeemer, Emmanuel, the rescue for sinners, the ransom from Heaven, Jesus Messiah, Lord of all." This song written and performed by Chris Tomlin, introduces us to The Mystery, Might and Majesty of the Messiah in our generation, as does the Gospel of John, written two millenniums ago. When we meet the Messiah we discover that...

l. He is present: in person then and in Spirit now v.1

    " Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days."

ll. He is personable: he sees the afflicted and care for them vv. 2-6

  " Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches.One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”

lll. He is powerful: healing the diseases of the body and soul vv. 7- 9d

     “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”  Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath..."

lV. He is perceptive: exposing legalistic religion and confronting the destructive nature of sin vv. 9e-14

so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!” But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded. The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.”

Conclusion: The mystery, why did Jesus single out this man from all the rest? Why did he choose you and me to fulfill his purpose? His might, he can do what no other can do, "Heal our bodies and save our souls, baptize us make us whole." His Majesty, he is Lord of all and worthy of our obedience, worship, and praise. We don't know what became of the man Jesus healed. Did he become a devoted follower of Jesus or a despicable ingrate? Both Chris and John introduce us to Jesus Messiah. Will we become devoted followers or despicable ingrates?

What The Righteous Can Do

Theme: What the Righteous Can Do When Law and Order Has Collapsed

Topic: What The Righteous Can Do

Text: Psalm 11: 1-7 (NLT) "The foundations of the law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?" v.3

Author: Dr. Ron Williams

Introduction: We are all keenly aware that lawlessness is rampant worldwide, and it has been for a long time. The last 6 month in the USA lawlessness has been extreme. Politicians and pundits are at a loss as to what to do about it. Additionally COVID-19 has made for a "Perfect Storm." Our nation, and the nations of the world are floundering like ships that are near sinking in a raging sea. The question was asked long ago in a crisis like today, "What can the righteous do?" Here what...

l. We can seek the protection of the Lord: he is the ultimate source of safety in time and for eternity v.1a

"I trust in the Lord for protection.

ll. We can stand our post by trusting in him: the fearful run away and hide the courageous stand for good and oppose evil vv.1b-2

So why do you say to me,

    “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety!

The wicked are stringing their bows

    and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings.

They shoot from the shadows

    at those whose hearts are right."

lll. We can be sure that God stills rules from heaven: the lawless will be brought down and the righteous will be lifted up vv.4-6

But the Lord is in his holy Temple;

    the Lord still rules from heaven.

He watches everyone closely,

    examining every person on earth.

The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked.

    He hates those who love violence.

He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked,

    punishing them with scorching winds.

lll. We can serve God by living virtuous lives and advance his Kingdom: behaving befitting the people of God with the rewards thereto attached v.7

For the righteous Lord loves justice

    The virtuous will see his face.

Conclusion: Faith says stand up and make your life count for God. Fear says run away and hide. Faith says be strong and courageous, fight the good fight. Fear says that's for the Abrahams, Moses', Joshuas, Calebs, Davids, Peters, James', Johns, Pauls, Esthers, Ruths, Debrahs, Marys, and Elizebeths but not for me. Faith sees the face of God. Fears sees only the snarl of the evil one. Which is it? Will we join the shrinking fearful or side with victorious - faith - filled few? Be sure of this, we can be more than conquerors through Him that loves us, and through Christ we can do all things. Kingdom people arise and seize the day of opportunity. The Righteous Can Do!

Are you "all in" with Christ?