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Sunday, January 27, 2019

You Are A New Creation

This is the manuscript of the sermon preached at Christ Church, Los Angeles, CA on Sunday
January 27, 2019.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (HCSB)16 From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know ⌊Him in this way⌋.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, ⌊he is⌋ a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

This new creation was brought about by the will of God. He created something entirely fresh and unique. The new creation is completely new, created from nothing, just as the whole universe was created by God... from nothing. 

To hear the audio click on the YouTube image at the end of the manuscript.


2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (HCSB)16 From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know ⌊Him in this way⌋.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, ⌊he is⌋ a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.


We have heard these verses, especially verse 17 many perhaps hundreds of times;

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, ⌊he is⌋ a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come

What does that mean?

The old sinful person you once were has gone as a result of the finished work of Christ.

Romans 10:9 HCSB If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Being a new creation in Christ means that you are constantly being renewed.

When you make that confession you are instantly saved, justified and made righteous.  You are no longer and enemy but now a friend of God.  You are not perfect, but through the work of the Holy Spirit you are being constantly renewed and sanctified so that you will be conformed to the image of Jesus, which is God’s purpose for you.

Romans 8:28-29 (HCSB)28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.29 For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.

The first thing we need to understand is that this new creation is something created by God.

John 1:12-13 (HCSB)12 But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name,13 who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.

In order for this new creation to take place we must be born again.  Jesus told Nicodemus,

John 3:5-6 HCSB …. “I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit,    he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit.

This tells us that this new birth or creation was brought about by the will of God. We did not inherit the new nature, we didn't recreate ourselves. God didn't just clean up our old nature either; He created something entirely fresh and unique. The new creation is completely new, created from nothing, just as the whole universe was created by God from nothing. Only God could do that.

We don’t know how it happens but we know that it does. In Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus when he asked Jesus how is it possible to born again Jesus said

John 3:8 (HCSB) 8 The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

The new creature you have  become wasn't the result of anything you did

Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it  is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

You didn't work for it or pay for it, but somebody had to purchase it and it was very costly.

John 3:16-17 NKJV For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Paul in his letter to the Galatians wrote:

Galatians 1:3-5 HCSB Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.  To whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

1 Corinthians 6:19 HCSB Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

We have to now realize, as new creatures, that we no longer have an identity apart from Christ.

We own nothing from our hair follicles to our toenails.  Every cell, every bit of DNA was paid for in full. Christ didn’t die just for the “good” parts or the parts we let Him have; He wanted all of us.

That’s why it makes no sense for us to justify what’s natural or what makes us happy or what satisfies us, where we will and will not surrender, what we will and will not hand over to Christ. The choice isn’t ours. The price paid was for the whole shebang.

It all belongs to Jesus.

As New Creatures We Need to “Put Off” Some Stuff and then “Put On” Some Other Stuff

Since we are new creatures there are some things that we should put behind us or stop.

Colossians 3:1-9 (HCSB)1 So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God.2 Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God.4 When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.5 Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.6 Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient,7 and you once walked in these things when you were living in them.8 But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices.

With this new creation,“old things have passed away.” The “old” refers to everything that is part of our old nature—pride, love of sin, reliance on works, and our former opinions, habits and passions. Most significantly, what we loved has passed away, especially the supreme love of self and with it self-righteousness, self-promotion, and self-justification.

The new creature looks outwardly toward Christ instead of inwardly toward self. The old things died, nailed to the cross with our sin nature.

This new creation is constantly being renewed or constantly "changing into something new and different, something better." That’s really what renewal in Christ means. We were remade into something better.

We are told to stop or put off these things because as a new creation we now have the help of the Holy Spirit which gives us the ability to stop these things.

For some of us, it may have been quite a struggle to remove the old sinful self and totally renovate our lives. It may continue to be a struggle, but know this: if you stay steadfast in your relationship with God, He will continually work in your life to renew you and get rid of the of the sin that may constantly tempt you.

Philippians 1:6 (HCSB) I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

If we put something off, like taking off our clothes, then we need to put something else on.

Continuing in our scripture in Colossians;

Colossians 3:10-14 (HCSB)10 and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator.11 In Christ there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.12 Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,13 accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also ⌊forgive⌋.14 Above all, ⌊put on⌋ love—the perfect bond of unity.

Kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, acceptance of each other and forgiving each other, are all attributes of Jesus in whose image we are being conformed. The things that we are to put on, as new creatures, all add up to love which as verse 14 says is the perfect bond of unity.

If we go to 1 Corinthians 13 and Galatians 5 we again see those things we as new creatures are to put on.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 HCSB Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Galatians 5:22-23 HCSB But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,  gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Okay we are new creatures, where does the change take place?

Our hearts - It starts in our hearts

The heart is the center of life. It is within this uniquely created internal organ that we have physical life. Without it, life is just not possible. The heart is also the center of spiritual life.

 Proverbs tell us that we must guard our heart because it is the wellspring of both physical and spiritual life.

Proverbs 4:23 (HCSB) Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.

Our heart determines our actions and reflects whether or not Christ is the center of our lives. That is why it is important that we ask God to continually renew our hearts.

Psalm 51:10 (HCSB) God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Take an inventory of your heart today. Is your heart where it needs to be or do you need God's renewal? Ask God to renew your heart and commit that He will remain at the center of your heart.

Change also takes place in our minds

Romans 12:1-2 (HCSB)1 Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

We’ve heard that the mind is the devil's playground. There is a lot of truth in that statement. Most the spiritual battles we fight against our enemy take place in the mind. Maybe it's the guilt of a past sin that constantly comes to your mind or the cravings of an addiction that you have not fully overcome. Maybe you hear whispers of negative words that give you doubts about your faith or your ability to accomplish what God has intended for you to do.

So as the verses we just read say, allow God to transform you through the renewing of your mind. Pray and ask God to remove the negative thoughts our spiritual enemy continues to infiltrate your mind with and allow God to renew your mind and replace the negativity with clarity and purity. Let God help you fight the battle in your mind and gain victory.

How do we renew our minds? By spending time in God’s word, meditating on it, listening to it, applying it.

So if we are this new creation why do Christians continue to sin?

There is a difference between continuing to sin and continuing to live in sin. No one reaches sinless perfection in this life, but as I mentioned earlier God continues the work of sanctification.

Philippians 1:6 (HCSB) I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

We are being sanctified day by day, sinning less and hating it more. Yes, we still sin, but unwillingly and less and less frequently as we mature. Our new self hates the sin that still has a hold on us. The difference is that the new creation is no longer slave to sin. 

Romans 6:6-7 (HCSB)6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin,7 since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims.

Romans 6:11-12 (HCSB)11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires.

We now have the power to choose not to sin.


The new creation is a wondrous thing created by God's  power and for His glory.  He created you for good works.

I preached a sermon here a couple of years ago in which I said that God created you to be a good works machine.

Good works are the fruit of the Spirit, the seal of God's ownership.  Good works conform to God’s law. or the Law of Christ.

Mark 12:28-31 HCSB One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked Him, “Which command is the most important of all? ” “This is the most important,”  Jesus answered: Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.    “The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself.    There is no other command greater than these.”

Galatians 6:1-2 HCSB Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted.  Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Most of us think these good works are: attending worship services, praying regularly, studying Scripture, giving generously from our financial resources, joining a small group, going on mission trips, caring for the poor, working for justice for the oppressed, loving our neighbors, etc. These are certainly among the good works that God has prepared for us, but if we stop with them we miss the complete purpose of what God has prepared for us.  Our good works are not  just religious activities but a lifestyle.

This means that we don’t just do them in our spare time. Walking in good works means that this is what we do every day and in every situation. This means that your good works can include that which you do at work, in the classroom, on the football field, in your neighborhood, and in your community associations. If you're a boss, part of your good works involve the way you manage your employees. The more we grow in our faith, the more we see ourselves as God's masterpieces, the more we will indeed do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, by his strength, under his authority, and for his purposes.
We are God’s workmanship. God knows everything about us… every detail of our lives. He formed every part of us and planned every day of our lives before we were born.
PRAYER:   Help me, Lord, to walk in the good works you have in store for me. Help me to be open to all that you would have me do. Teach me to see my whole life as you see it. By your Spirit, may I come to see every moment of every day as an occasion to do good works—including good work—for you. Amen.

Sermon Audio

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