"Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.”

“I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”

“Woe to me, I am ruined.”

“We are doomed to die! We have seen God.”

It is the same story repeated throughout the Scriptures. The closer sinners get to God, the more they realize they are unworthy and they are sinful.

Maybe you feel like that, too. You look to the front of Church and you see the cross, you see the altar. You know what it means. You have stepped onto holy ground here. The cross is Christ. The altar is the place of sacrifice. You know the cross was the altar on which Christ died. But was it really for me? Is it really mine?

You open your Bible. You sing a hymn or song and the words fall off of you. They don’t stick because you don’t want them to. “Those words can’t be for me because I don’t deserve them.”

We push Christ away! We are troubled by our sins. The guilt of the past overwhelms us. And our reaction sometimes is to get Christ out of our lives. Maybe if he would just go away I wouldn’t feel this way anymore. Maybe if I don’t see Jesus, he won’t see my sin and I won’t die and I won’t think so much about my sin.

"I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”

“Get away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.”

So we push him out. We push when we ignore Jesus. We push when we ignore our sin. We push when we just don’t want to deal with our sinfulness. 

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

The funny thing is, Jesus understands this problem better than you or me. He understands that the problem isn’t because of him; it doesn’t have anything to do with how close God is. The problem is that we’re afraid. We’re afraid that if we admit to God how wretched we are he will condemn us forever. We’re afraid that if we admit our sin to other people, that if we confess the wickedness and filth of our life, that we won’t be able to bear the consequences. So Jesus says to you and me, “Do not be afraid.”

“I do know your sin. And I’m here to fix that. I’m here to help you. I have come to you. You couldn’t come to me, so I came to you.”

Jesus came for you. He knows your sin. He knows your struggle. And he also knows that he did everything to remove that. Jesus found you and me knee deep in sin, and he changed us. He changed us by giving us something better than fear, he gave us hope that God had come to rescue us.

You there, sinner, look at Jesus. You there, weighed down by the guilt of your past, look at how Jesus died for you on the cross. Look at how he paid the price for sin. This is for you. This is how fear is taken away.

Remember when Adam and Eve tried to hide from God after they sinned? God had to practically chase them down and grab hold of them and tell them that all was not lost. He had a plan to save them from sin. He wanted them. Jesus grabs hold of you, even as you try to scramble away from him in fear, and says in your ear, “I love you. Do not be afraid.”

God wants you. Jesus wants you to be a part of his work. So Jesus did everything to change you. So come, let’s follow him.

Luke 5:8-11, "When Simon Peter saw [the miraculous catch of fish], he fell at Jesus' knees and said, 'Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!' For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken...Then Jesus said to Simon, 'Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men.' So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everytihng and follwed him."