Pastor Jimmy Evans, the lead apostolic senior pastor at Texas’ Gateway Church, preached a guest sermon at Ed Young’s Fellowship Church in Texas, in which he discussed why Christians face fear and how to overcome anxiety in their lives.
Evans, who serves as apostolic elder at Trinity Fellowship Church in Amarillo, Texas, where he previously served as the senior pastor for 30 years, told the congregation that fear is something everyone experiences because Jesus said that “men’s hearts would fail them for fear in the end times and the expectation of things that are coming on the earth."
“The world that we are living in today is just absolutely bizarre, and many people are anxious and fearful,” the 66-year-old pastor said in a sermon delivered at the church's Grapevine Campus location on April 10.
Evans read from Luke 22:39-46, which tells of when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane leading up to the next series of events in His life at the cross.
Evans said Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed to, and met His disciples. Jesus was in such a state of “agony” because He knew what was going to happen at the cross of Calvary. Jesus said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but Yours be done.”
“Jesus had more fear on His way to the cross than any human being has ever experienced,” Evans, the founder and president of XO Marriage, explained. "If you’ve ever been fearful of anything, Jesus understands it."
Jesus was in such a fearful state, Evans said, that in the garden, His sweat became drops of blood, which in medical terminology is known as hematohidrosis.
“This is the only place in the Bible that we’re told that Jesus feared. And that's the interesting thing. Why did Jesus fear here and why did He fear so much?” Evans inquired of the audience.
Evans said there were many reasons why Jesus allowed His fear to show in the text, the first reason being that He was identifying as a fellow human being.
“If you’ve ever been fearful and if you've ever gone to the Lord and prayed about your fears, Jesus completely understands everything that we go through,” Evans said, quoting Hebrews 4:15-16.
“If you ever go to Jesus in prayer and say, ‘Lord, I’m feeling this,’ Jesus will say, ‘I completely understand.' He’s not self-righteous. He’s not indignant. He’s not holier-than-thou, even though He’s holy. Jesus was tempted in every single way that we’re tempted, but He didn’t sin."
Evans said Christians have a throne that they can go to called "the throne of grace." He asked his audience if they were "glad it’s not the throne of merit or a throne of holiness."
"You see, when we need God the most, we deserve Him the least, and the only way that we can get to Him is based on grace,” he said.
Grace is unmerited favor, Evans said, from God through His throne, which can be available to Christians when they are at their lowest point.
“When you go to that throne, you don’t get lectures. You don’t get talked down to. You get mercy and grace to help in your time of need,” Evans said. “We have a good God.”
The concept of God that Christians have is very important in their prayer lives, Evans said, because if a Christian believes God is angry with them, they are less likely to want to spend time with Him.
“If you think He’s disgusted with you, if you think God is somehow turned off by you, God loves you. He adores you. That’s why Jesus died on the cross,” Evans said, mentioning Psalm 103:8-14, which says the Lord is “slow to anger and abounding in mercy.”
When Christians pray to God, Evans said, they do not "need to be religious" and they "don’t need to sugarcoat things," because "you got a Daddy in Heaven, Who wants you to talk to Him frankly. Respectfully, but frankly.”
"So, when you’re going through something and you go to the Lord and you say, ‘Lord this is what I’m feeling. This is exactly what I’m feeling and this is what I’m going through right now,’ God wants you to come to His throne boldly and tell Him exactly what you’re going through,” Evans continued.
When Christians approach God in prayer boldly, Evans said, “He will always receive you, He will always accept you and He always give you mercy, because Jesus Christ is also the Son of Man.”
Another reason why Jesus allowed His fear to show in the Garden of Gethsemane, Evans said, was because He had the full knowledge of everything He was about to endure.
“Most of us have the fear of the unknown. There’s nothing unknown to Jesus. He’s the Son of God. … No one has ever been tortured and no one has ever died the death that Jesus was about to die and He knew exactly every blow that He was going to receive,” Evans said.
Jesus begged God three times, Evans pointed out, to take His fate at the cross away from Him. Yet, three times, God the Father refused to do so.
“That answer ‘no’ is very important because Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven,” Evans said. “If there was any other way to Heaven, God the Father would not have sent Jesus to die on the cross.”
The third reason Jesus was very fearful, according to Evans, was because Jesus "was under full-scale assault by Satan" and "the spirit of fear" before He went to the cross.
“'God has not given us a spirit of fear,'” Evans told the crowd, quoting 2nd Timothy 1:7. "You don’t have any fear. When God created you in your mother’s womb, He gave you no fear. You are fearless in your natural state."
Evans said that "fear is a spirit," with Satan being "the ultimate spirit of fear." He posited that Satan attacked Jesus with fear and continues to attack people in the same way today.
“Most fears are the fear of death. If you have the fear of heights, you actually don’t have the fear of heights. You have the fear of splattering,” he said.
“[The Bible] says Jesus defeated Satan and took away the fear of death. But, many people and many Christians still have the fear of death."
Evans said next time the devil tries to make a Christian fear death, they should remember that they will never be dead in the spirit, but only carnally dead.
“Christians can’t die. We can't be killed, we can’t die. Our bodies will die one day. But, do you understand this: As a Christian, when you close your eyes here for the last time, you immediately open your eyes in Heaven?” Evans said.
“When you take your last breath here, you take your first breath in Heaven immediately after that. When your senses dull here, they come alive there,” he added.
When Satan tries to give a Christian fear of death or another kind of fear, it is a form of control to keep them from doing what God called them to do.
“Fear is a prophet spirit from Hell sent to upset you and get you to do something based on that fear that God will not honor and it will hurt you,” Evans said.
“Fear is a prophet spirit that comes and gives us a bad report of the future: ‘You’re going to die. No one’s ever going to love you.' … It’s a premonition. It’s a prophet spirit.”
God never honors fear because He only honors faith, according to Evans, who told those gathered that "you’ll always regret every fear-based decision you’ll ever make."
“The worst decisions I’ve ever made in my life were based on fear. You’ll never regret a faith-based decision," Evans stated.