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ARE YOU AFRAID OF COMING?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, August 14, 2010

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).


Jesus says, “Come unto me.” It is a very simple thing to come to Him. Yet some of you are afraid to come to the Son of God.

I once read about a man who lived in an apartment that caught fire while he was asleep. By the time he woke up the building was ablaze. He tried to get out of his room but the hallway was already filled with flames and smoke. He ran to the window. He looked down. Five stories below was a fire truck. The firemen had spread out a net. One of them yelled to him, “Jump!” But he was afraid to jump. The net looked so small, just a little round net, with firemen holding it around the edges. It was so small – and he was way up there – five stories above. He kept thinking it over, trying to decide whether or not to jump. Finally the fire chief cried out, “Hurry! Jump! The building is about to collapse! Jump!” Yet the man hesitated – afraid of the height, afraid of the risk, afraid the net would not hold him. Again the fire chief yelled, “Hurry! Jump!” Filled with anxiety, doubt and horror, the man at the window turned – and rushed back into the flames. Just then the floor gave way beneath his feet – and he plunged down, five stories, into the burning inferno. Later, when they sifted through the ashes, they could not find his body. It was consumed in the flames.

May I compare you to that man? May I say that you are much like him? Jesus says, “Come unto me…and I will give you rest.” But you are afraid to come to Him. You are afraid to trust Him. You are filled with anxiety and doubt. As Jesus said,

“Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40).

Oh, I plead with you, come to Him! I beg you, come to Him! I exhort you, come to Him! Yet you hold back. Yet you hesitate. Yet you are afraid to come to the Son of God! There are several reasons why you may fear coming to the Saviour.

I. First, you are afraid to come to Jesus because your very nature rejects Him.

The prophet Isaiah said,

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

Yes, your very fallen nature despises and rejects the Saviour, for the prophet calls Jesus, “him whom man despiseth” (Isaiah 49:7). He is “despised and rejected of men” – of mankind in general. He is “him whom man despiseth.” And since you are one of Adam’s fallen race, you despise Him and reject Him too. Adam hid from Him in the Garden.  Adam said, "I was afraid" (Genesis 3:10).  It should not surprise us that Adam's descendants are also afraid to come to Jesus.  Your fear of coming to Him may look like honest doubt, yet it really comes from a proud and rebellious heart. Spurgeon said, “If [you] were afraid to disbelieve, there would be good sense in the fear; but to be afraid to trust [Jesus] is at best an absurdity, and [is really] a deceitful way of refusing the Lord the honour that is due to his faithfulness and truth” (C. H. Spurgeon, Around the Wicket Gate, Pilgrim Publications, 1992 reprint, p. 48). Jesus says,

“Come unto me…and I will give you rest.”

But,

“Ye will not come to [Him] that ye might have life”
       (John 5:40).

II. Second, some of you fear coming to Jesus because you are afraid of making a mistake.

What a foolish fear this is! The old Puritan Thomas Hooker famously said that every person that continues to strive will enter in to Christ (Luke 13:24a). Yet the opposite is also true, every person who stops striving to enter in to Christ “shall not be able” (Luke 13:24b). My mother used to say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” If you made a mistake before, don’t make the same mistake again. Learn from your mistakes. Though you tried to come to Him 100 times and failed, how do you know but that on the one hundred and first attempt you will “enter in at the strait gate”? (Luke 13:24).

Do you think it would be a horrible thing if you were to come to Jesus and yet perish? Yes, it would. But since you must perish anyway, Spurgeon said, “the risk is not great” (Around the Wicket Gate, p. 50).

I can but perish if I go;
   I am resolved to try;
For if I stay away, I know
   I must for ever die.

The man was afraid to jump. “What if I miss the net? What if it doesn’t hold me?” And so he perished in the flames. Jesus says,

“Come unto me…and I will give you rest.”

But,

“Ye will not come to [Him] that ye might have life”
       (John 5:40).

III. Third, some of you may fear that if you come to Jesus He will refuse you.

This can never be! Even the old Pharisees knew better than that! They said, “This man receiveth sinners” (Luke 15:2). Why, the very reason Jesus came down to earth was to save sinners. The Apostle Paul said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15).

Think what Jesus went through to rescue you from the penalty of your sins!

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (I Peter 3:18).

See Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying in the darkness, sweating as it were great drops of Blood.

There my God bore all my guilt;
This through grace can be believed;
But the horrors which He felt
Are too vast to be conceived.
None can penetrate through thee,
Doleful, dark Gethsemane.
None can penetrate through thee,
Doleful, dark Gethsemane.

Sins against a holy God;
Sins against His righteous laws;
Sins against His love, His blood;
Sins against His name and cause;
Sins immense as is the sea –
Hide me, O Gethsemane!
Sins immense as is the sea –
Hide me, O Gethsemane!
   (“Gethsemane” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768;
      to the tune of Hart’s hymn, “Come, Ye Sinners”).

His head, His beard, His clothing were drenched in bloody sweat. His soul was “sorrowful even unto death.” He took your sins upon Himself, so He could suffer the wrath of God in your place.

Betrayed by Judas in Gethsemane, the soldiers haul Him before Pontius Pilate. They accuse Him of blasphemy! There stands the perfect man, the holy Son of God, accused of blasphemy by godless liars!

They spit in His face. They pull out patches of His beard. They scourge His back until the bones are laid bare in bloody gore. They lead Him to Calvary. They nail His hands and feet to a cross. God turns away, and Jesus dies – forsaken by God and man.

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Now, fearful sinner, do you think He did all that for nothing? No! He “hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (I Peter 3:18).

Can you not come to such a Saviour? Can you not come and rest on Him who loved you enough to die in your place? Can you not be enabled to say,

Just as I am, without one plea,
   But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
   O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
(“Just As I Am” by Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871).

Stop looking at yourself. Down with self – and up with Jesus! See Jesus only. He suffers. He bleeds. He dies. He is buried. He rises from the dead. He ascends to glory. He prays for thee on high. Come to Him and thou art safe. Give up all other trusts, and come to Jesus, and thou shalt pass from death to life! Spurgeon said, “If you perish trusting Him, I must perish too.” That is all I did. I came to Jesus. He cleansed my sins with His holy Blood. If you come to Him and perish, I will perish too. What more can I say to prove my own confidence in Jesus, the Son of God – who said,

“Come unto me…and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers’ sermons each week on the Internet
 at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Hymn Sung Before the Sermon: “Gethsemane” (by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768;
to the tune of Hart’s hymn, “Come, Ye Sinners”).
 

THE OUTLINE OF

ARE YOU AFRAID OF COMING?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

(John 5:40)

I.   First, you are afraid to come to Jesus because your very
nature rejects Him, Isaiah 53:3; 49:7; Genesis 3:10; John 5:40.

II.  Second, some of you fear coming to Jesus because you are
afraid of making a mistake, Luke 13:24.

III. Third, some of you may fear that if you come to Jesus
He will refuse you, Luke 15:2; I Timothy 1:15;
I Peter 3:18; John 1:29.