Archive for Christmas

07-25-21 Kevin Goins - Christmas In July

“Christmas in July”

John 10:22-39

You may believe that it was retailers who dreamed up the idea of Christmas in July in order to increase their sales in the doldrums of summer.  In fact, it is the Bible that brings up this issue and that is what our text today is all about today. 

What does this text have to do with Christmas?                                        

I               First, there is the d________________ of our text (10:22-23).


  1. The Feast of Dedication celebrates the Jew’s victory over the Syrian King Antiochus _______.


  1. The Messiah had been born and was now in the world teaching and healing, but they were not thinking of him. Instead, they were celebrating, not a religious holiday, but a n____________________ holiday.


  1. Christmas is just something almost all Americans __________.


II             Second, this text and Christmas are about s_________________________ (10:24).


  1. There are two things about this suspense:


  1. First, whatever kind of suspense it was, it was i__________________________.


  1. Second, their suspense is specifically about whether Jesus is the _______________________.


  1. If Jesus had said, “I am the Messiah,” we know they would have understood it p_______________________________.


III            Third, this text and Christmas are both focused on ______________ (10:25-30).


  1. Christmas is a birthday party for Jesus, and yet everyone gets a gift e______________________________ him.


  1. The easier and more n________________ way to translate verse 29 is: “The gift my Father has given to me is greater than all.”


  1. The reason Jesus sees us as the greatest of all gifts is not because we are the greatest to ever be loved, it is because he is the greatest ________________.


IV            Fourth, this text and Christmas both demonstrate the insidious nature of i___________________________ (10:31-32).


  1. Revenge returns evil for evil, but ingratitude returns evil for ____________________.


  1. When we say, “Is that all there is?” what we are actually saying is, “All I have been given is not __________________ enough.”
  2. We cannot feel disappointment about the one thing we do not have without setting aside and i____________________ the myriad of things we do have.

V             Finally, both this text and Christmas ask one question: “_________ is _____________?” (10:33-39)

12-27-20 Kevin Goins - What the Wisemen Teach Us About Worship

Posted in sermon, First Alliance Church Atlanta, Christianity, Dr. Kevin Goins, Wisemen, Bible, Christmas by facatl on December 30th, 2020

“What the Wisemen Teach Us About Worship” 
Matthew 2:1-12
Only Matthew tells us about the wisemen who came to see the newborn King of the Jews.  In many ways these strange visitors are clothed in mystery.  We actually know very little about them.  We do, however, know two very important things:  the wisemen teach us that the good news of Christmas should stir us to worship, and they give us valuable insight into how we can be worshipers.  What do they teach us?                   

I First, the wisemen teach us that to be worshipers we must be people who are ______-sighted, not ________-sighted (2:1-2).

A. Worship calls for a radically d_______________ perspective:  we must take our eyes off ourselves and look far beyond our own i_________________ concerns.

B. “Until __________ gets something out of our worship, we never will. 

II Second, the wisemen teach us that if we are going to be worshipers, we must stand against h__________________ and i_______________ (2:3-8).

A. As worshipers our first challenge is to face the opposition of those who think our worship is i_____________.

B. Our second challenge is to face the greatest enemy of worship we will ever face, and that is o______ o______ indifference.

III Third, the wisemen teach us that worship compels us to _________ something (2:9).
A. Nowhere does the Bible depict worship as a restful undemanding activity where you just s_________ and w___________.

B. Worship begins in the _______________, but it does not stop there; it moves to our mouth, hands, and feet.

IV Fourth, the wisemen teach us that real worship is accompanied by j_______________ g____________ (2:10-11).

A. Giving to God may just be the most s________________ form of worship in which we will ever take part.

B. When we give God our money, and we do it with real joy, we are saying that God is w___________ more to us than anything, and to say that is to worship.

V Lastly, the wisemen teach us that worship always c______________ us (2:12).

12-20-20 Kevin Goins Advent 4 Unafraid to Love

Posted in sermon, First Alliance Church Atlanta, Christianity, Dr. Kevin Goins, Advent, Bible, Christmas by facatl on December 22nd, 2020

Luke 2:15-20
We do not need a degree in psychology to realize that there are people around us who are afraid to love.  Some of these people have good reasons for their fear.  They may have loved in the past but the one to whom they gave their love did not prove faithful.  There are, in fact, many reasons why people might be afraid to take a chance on love.  Regardless of the reason, however, when fear deprives us of love, we are missing out on what God intended life to be.  But there is hope.  What do we need to do to overcome our fear to love?             

I First, we must p________________ love (2:15-16).

A. If the shepherds had not pursued, if they had waited, they would have m____________ it all.

B. To know and love anyone, including Jesus, we must i_______________ our fear, get up, and pursue.

II Second, we must a_____________________ our love (2:17-18)

A. That is what love does:  it publicizes itself; it makes itself k__________________.

B. “I love you” should not be the l___________ thing that is said, it should be the f__________ thing that is said.

III Third, we must t_______________ about our love (2:19).
A. It is interesting to see how Mary’s thoughts about her baby d__________________ over time.

1. She thought about what G_______________ said to her, what E_____________ said to her, and now what the s_______________ said to her. 

2. She is h______________ on to these words and now she is taking time to ponder them.

3. Even though Mary was the mother of the Messiah, her brain could not g_____________ it all.

B. Love is one of the greatest truths of life and, for that reason, we need to ponder it, because what we ponder we cannot i________________.

IV Fourth, we must c________________ our love (2:20).

 -We express our appreciation, not just by saying thanks, but by c________________ the way we live in order to glorify Jesus.

12-13-20 Kevin Goins Advent 3 Fearless Joy

Posted in sermon, First Alliance Church Atlanta, Christianity, Dr. Kevin Goins, Advent, Christmas by facatl on December 14th, 2020

Advent 2021:  Fearless Joy
Luke 2:1-14
Nothing threatens our joy like fear.  Sadly, we live in a time when fears not only multiply like rabbits, but these rabbits are bigger than elephants.  Fortunately for us, Advent tell us that we can have a joy which is stronger than all of our fears.  How can we keep fear from spoiling our joy?      

I First, fear cannot keep us from practicing joy if we truly believe that m______________ and t______________ are not necessary for joy (Luke 2:1-5).

A. If we seek desirable things as the way to bring joy to our life, that can only mean that joy d_________________ on material things.

B. Is the joy God gave to us at Christmas dependent on our ability to buy nice things for ourselves and our family?  If that is true, then our joy can never be s_______________.

II Second, fear cannot keep us from practicing joy if our heart is open to s_________________ (Luke 2:6-7)

A. The Israelites knew how hard the life of an alien or stranger could be, and since God met their needs in Egypt, out of g___________________ to God, they must meet the needs of others.

B. If we are offended by Jesus as a homeless man sleeping on a park bench, how offended are we by Jesus being born in a b________ where the smell of m______________ fills the air?

III Every Advent we talk about how d_________________ the shepherds were in the society of their day (Luke 2:8-12).  

A. They were despised for several reasons:

1. Their close confinement with animals made them literally and religiously u____________________.

2. Their itinerant lifestyle, moving with the sheep from one pasture to another, made people s__________________ of them.

3. Their uncleanness and itinerant lifestyle meant they were never at the Temple or the Synagogue, and so people saw them as i______________________.

B. The angel said this “good news of great joy” is for “all people,” which means that if we e______________ anyone, then it is no longer good news.

C. This brings us to the third truth Luke teaches us:  fear cannot keep us from experiencing joy if our hearts are o________________ to the people of the world.

IV Finally, fear cannot keep us from experiencing joy if we rely on grace rather than our p_________________________ (Luke 2:13-14).

A. The Kingdom of evil promotes the lie that a relationship with God is only for those who can m_______________ u________ to God’s perfect standards.

B. Relying on God’s favor r____________ o__________ our performance.

C. When God’s one and only Son was born in Bethlehem, the whole purpose was to provide p_________________ for condemned people.  

12-06-20 Kevin Goins Advent 2 Do Not Be Afraid to bring Peace

Posted in sermon, First Alliance Church Atlanta, Christianity, Dr. Kevin Goins, Advent, Bible, peace, Christmas by facatl on December 7th, 2020

Advent 2021:  Bringing Peace
Luke 1:46-55
If there is one word that usually always finds its way into our understanding of the Christmas story, that word is peace.  Whether the observer is Christian or non-Christian, people cannot go very long in discussing the meaning of Christmas without bringing up this word.  Of course, we often have very different understandings of what this peace actually consists.  Fortunately for us, the second most important character in the Christmas story had a clear vision of this peace and she is going to share it with us today.  What exactly is this peace that the Christ child gives?    

I First, the peace this child will bring is p_____________________ peace.

A. Mary says, “My very life, my spirit, the d______________ part of me, the e__________________ of who I am, glorifies God for what he has done for me.”

B. Mary, throughout her life, was treated as a nothing, and that is no exaggeration:

 1. First, she was an u_______________ teenage girl.

 2. Second, she was dirt-_____________.

 3. Third, she was a citizen of an e__________________ nation.

C. Mary says, “God did not call me to be an i____________________ for his child, not a means to an end.  To him I am a v_________________ person.

II Second, this peace is s___________________.  Peace has to do with how we t____________ each other in this world.

A. First, she says, “He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.”  This is a s_____________________ revolution.

B. Second, Mary says, “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.”  This is a p____________________ revolution.

C. Third, Mary says, “He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.”  This is an e____________________________ revolution.

1. Some believe that all this attention which Jesus and Luke give to the poor is not about p_______________ poverty; it is about s__________________ poverty.

a. First, Jesus does not say, “Blessed are you who are poor spiritually.”  He says, “Blessed are you p_______________.”

b. Second, remember that most of the people in Israel in Jesus’ day were l______________ poor; they had very, very little to eat.
 -So, if the good news Jesus had for these physically poor people was limited to spiritual bread, then Jesus was being horribly c___________.

2. Some think that what Mary is talking about here refers to the s______________ coming of Jesus.  

a. But how odd that Mary would praise God for the second coming of her son b______________ she has even experienced his first coming.

B. Second, Mary does not speak in the f_____________ tense in these verses.

3. What began with the birth of Jesus has obviously not yet been c_____________________.  

 -Which means that while we look forward to the second coming when all the hungry will be filled and every wrong will be made right, we cannot simply sit back and w______________ for Jesus to do it a_________.  

III Third, this peace is s_____________________.
-How does God show mercy “to Abraham and his descendants forever?”  By placing Jesus in the w_____________ of Mary.  In other words, by sending a S___________________.

11-29-10 Kevin Goins - Advent 1 Do Not Be Afraid To Hold On To Hope

Posted in sermon, First Alliance Church Atlanta, Christianity, Dr. Kevin Goins, Advent, Bible, Christmas by facatl on November 30th, 2020

Advent 2021:  Holding on to Hope
Luke 1:26-45 
I (Luke 1:26) “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.  The virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored!  The Lord is with you.’  Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.”  

 First, we need to be _________ to God’s message of hope.

A. Luke doesn’t say Mary was troubled because an angel spoke to her; what troubled her was the _______________.  Nevertheless, she was open to ___________ the message.

B. That is why when Medieval artists portrayed the Holy Spirit coming to Mary to enable her to conceive the Messiah, they pictured the Holy Spirit, as a dove, entering Mary through her ___________________.

 John 3:8, “The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
II (1:30) “But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the House of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’”

 Second, we need a ______________ from God.
A. Gabriel doesn’t say, “Mary, you are highly ____________________.  He says, “You are graciously ________________.”

B. The message of Christmas is that the gift given to Mary has also been given to ______.

(Colossians 1:27) “It is Christ in you that is your hope of glory.”
(Galatians 2:20) “I have been crucified with Christ.  I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

III (1:34) “’How will this be’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’  The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So, the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.  Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.  For nothing is impossible with God.’”  

 Third, we need something to believe in which is _________________ ourselves.

A. People have a hard time with the virgin birth, but their doubt is m__________________ because virgin birth is nothing compared to i________________________. 

B. If Mary had been told that she and her husband Joseph were going to have a child who would be Israel’s Savior, then they would have been forced to believe in ___________________________.

C. There would have been no hope in that message, but only s______________, and w________________, and feelings of i_____________________________.

“‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So, the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God…. For nothing is impossible with God.’”

IV (1:38) “’I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered.  ‘May it be to me as you have said.’  Then the angel left her.”

 Fourth, we need a willingness to __________________.

A. Jesus said in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve….”  Like s_________, like m_____________.

B. Selfish desires have ________ power when life seems hopeless, which means hopelessness keeps selfishness in check.  For this reason, God cannot take away our hopelessness until we are willing to a_______________ our selfish way of living.

V (1:39-45) “At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  In a loud voice she exclaimed:  ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear.  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.’”  

Fifth, we need h___________________.

A. Mary took the favor God had poured out on her and she did not h________________ it, she poured it out on o______________.

B. Mary was the most favored woman in human history, but she played the part of a w_________________ servant, and that is humility.

VI Would you like to hold on to hope while our world is being severely tested?  Mary shows us how:

 (1)  We must be ___________ to hope.

 (2) We need to understand that hope is __________ something we can create.

(3) We must see that hope is a ___________ and we must receive that gift through _____________.

(4&5) To keep us from becoming proud and self-centered, we need to receive hope as _________________ and we must practice ________________.  



12-29-19 Kevin Goins - Celebrating Advent in the Right Direction

“Celebrating Advent in the Right Direction” Luke 2:36-38

For many people Christmas overflows with memories of the past. In fact, the story of the birth of Jesus is an event confined to the past. But the celebration of Advent isn’t limited to the past. It actually looks in two directions at the same time. A woman named Anna shows us why this dual perspective is so beneficial.

I First, when our celebration of Advent focuses on both the first and second comings of Jesus, it sets us free from the _________ myth.
A. There is a problem with Santa: Santa discriminates against __________.
B. Santa may be for children, but the Second Advent of Jesus will impact e________ p__________ who has ever lived on planet earth.

II Second, when our celebration of Advent focuses on both the first and second comings of Jesus, it sets us free from the ‘w__________ is only for ____________” myth (2:37b).
A. Anna made sure she was in the right _________ to be ready for the Messiah, and because she was, she ________ him.
B. If there is a Second Advent that could happen at any moment, then making worship the h__________ of our life makes s_______.

III Third, when our celebration of Advent focuses on both the first and second comings of Jesus, it sets us free from the “Christianity is for s______________” myth (2:37c).
A. Anna didn’t just attend church; she did something: she _______ and _______.
B. Just as Anna had something for which to pray and fast, so do we: we want to see the work Jesus began ________________.

IV Fourth, when our celebration of Advent focuses on both the first and second comings of Jesus, it sets us free from the myth that says the best Christmases are p________ (2:38).
A. If we must look backward to get excited about Christmas, something is _____________.
B. Anna was looking e______________ for the coming of the Messiah and so she was looking ___________, not __________.

V Finally, when our celebration of Advent focuses on both the first and second comings of Jesus, it sets us free from the “Christmas comes but o_______ a y________” myth (2:38b).

12-22-19 Kevin Goins - Making Simeon’s Story Our Story

Posted in sermon, First Alliance Church Atlanta, Christianity, Dr. Kevin Goins, Advent, Bible, Christmas by facatl on December 23rd, 2019

“Making Simeon’s Story Our Story” Luke 2:25-35

One of the people who saw the baby Jesus, but whose participation in the Christmas story is often overlooked, is Simeon. Simeon can teach us a lot about how to make the Christmas story our story, but be warned: much of what he teaches us is shocking. For example:

I First, Simeon teaches us that to make the Christmas story our story we need the ___________ __________ (2:25-27a).
A. First, without the Holy Spirit no one has the s__________ v__________ necessary to see Jesus.
B. Second, Luke tells us it was the Holy Spirit that enabled ___________ to make the Christmas story his story.
C. Third, not only does the Bible and the life of Simeon tell us we need the Holy Spirit to make the Christmas story our story, so also does Charles Dicken’s A C____________ C_____________.

II Second, Simeon teaches us that to make the Christmas story our story, we must be prepared for ____________ (2:27-29).
A. When Simeon saw the baby Mary and Joseph brought to the
temple, he knew two things: God ________ his promise and he could now _______ in peace.
B. When the Christmas story becomes our story it transforms, not just our present, but the _______ moment of our life.

III Third, Simeon teaches us that to make the Christmas story our story, we must be concerned about more than just _________ ____________.
A. When Simeon sees Jesus, his vision is _____________.
B. We can’t make the Christmas story our story until we realize that we have a ______________ mission to tell all about the Christ of Christmas.

IV Fourth, Simeon teaches us that to make the Christmas story our story, we must be willing to be the cause of ______________ (2:33-35).
A. Simeon paid attention to the Old Testament prophets – he knew not everyone would accept the _______________.
B. In Romans 9 Paul says many in Israel stumbled over Jesus because they believed they could achieve their own personal righteousness by keeping the________.

12-15-19 Kevin Goins - Making the Christmas Story My Story with testimonies

Posted in sermon, First Alliance Church Atlanta, Christianity, Dr. Kevin Goins, Advent, Bible, Christmas by facatl on December 17th, 2019

12-08-19 Kevin Goins - Making Mary’s Story My Story

Posted in sermon, First Alliance Church Atlanta, Christianity, Dr. Kevin Goins, Advent, Bible, Christmas by facatl on December 11th, 2019

“Making Mary’s Story Our Story”   Luke 1:26-2:7

Of all the characters who played a part in the birth of the Savior, there is none who seems as unapproachable as Mary. Women have a hard time relating to a woman who gave birth knowing there was no human father she could blame for her pain. Men feel some sympathy for Joseph but we have no idea how to comprehend Mary. And then we Protestants feel estranged from Mary because the Roman Catholic Church has almost deified her. But all this misses the point. Next to Jesus there is no one so pivotal to the Christmas story as Mary, and if we want to know how to make the Christmas story our story, we dare not overlook her.

I First, Mary teaches us that no matter how ___________ it may be, it is ____________ to live out the Christmas story in our daily lives (1:26-37).

A. Why did the Savior have to be ______ as well as _________? Because no human being has a __________ for the problem of sin.

B. Why was it necessary for the Savior to be a _________ _________ at all? Because justice can only be done when wrongdoing is ____________ and God could not take our punishment.

II Second, Mary teaches us that just because it is _____________ to live out the Christmas story does not mean it will be ____________ (1:38).

A. When Mary and Joseph answered God’s call, people didn’t a_________ them – they ____________ at them.

B. God doesn’t call us to live a b________ or m__________ life. He calls us to an e___________ life on the cutting edge of his Kingdom.

III Third, Mary teaches us that living out the Christmas story will have an impact ______ _______________ ourselves (1:46-55).

IV Fourth, Mary teaches us that living out the Christmas story is not something we are expected to do ____________ (2:1-5).

A. Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit so her child would be the God-man. Why, then is __________ necessary?

B. God wanted his plan to save the world to be carried out, not by a single i_________________, but by a f___________.

V Fifth, Mary teaches us that living out the Christmas story is not going to __________________ the world (2:6-7).

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