All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.

November 14, 2012



ACCORDING

TO YOUR

FAITH

Part 1





Printed for:

HANDS FOR JESUS

P.O. BOX 250494

MILWAUKEE, WI 53225-0494



For more information visit our Web sites at:

www.handsforjesus.cc

www.handsforjesus.org





2012 by Merle E. Koepke

All Rights Reserved

Introduction



In Matthew 9:27-30, it says, "And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us...And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord...Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you...And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it."

In Romans 1:17, it says, "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." Then in Galatians 3:11, it says, "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith." Then in Hebrews 10:38, it says, "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."

Three times in the New Testament we are told "...The just shall live by faith." Therefore, we can see that God requires us to have faith. Our faith must be in God, and His Word.

Everything God does is according to His faith. The world was created by faith. Hebrews 11:3 says, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." What God said happened, just as God had intended it to happen. In Genesis 1:3 it says, "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."

There are three steps to faith. First there is hope. If we do not have any hope we will not have any faith. Faith begins with hope. Second there is believing. Unless we believe we will not have any faith. Therefore, hope without believing will not produce faith.

Believing is the beginning of faith. Where people have no hope they are lost, and nothing happens. In Hebrews 11:1 it says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Without hope, there is no faith. Without believing there would be no faith.

Once we have hope, we can then begin to see results in what we hope for. Believing is the next step to faith. Believing can change any circumstance into victory. In Mark 9:23, Jesus said to the man whose son was possessed with a deaf and dumb spirit, "...If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." All it would have taken for that man's son to be set free was for "that father to believe that he could cast that deaf and dumb spirit out of his son" the same way Jesus cast that spirit out. That father did not need to bring his son to Jesus' disciples to have that spirit cast out. That father could have done it himself, "if he would have believed."

If people can cast out an evil spirit by simply believing, just think how much more people can do if they have faith. Faith is greater than hope or believing. Faith can do much more than hope and believing.

Why are so many Christians living in poverty today? It is because those who are living in poverty do not have any hope. If they would have hope, and believe, they could get themselves out of poverty, and enjoy life.

If Christians would start with hope and believe, they could do great things, and become very prosperous, and live a life of plenty. Many people in the world today have prospered and become known for their great accomplishments. Without hope, they would never have obtained to the status they have today. They accomplished what they did by starting with hope and them believing in what they could do.

If those of this world can do what they do by simply believing, what about Christians today? Christians have been given faith in the fruit of the Spirit to accomplish all that God has planned for them. Faith is greater than hope and believing.

According to Your Faith



Jesus said in Mark 11:22, "Have faith in God." In 1 Timothy 6:12, it says, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life..." What does this mean to Christians? Do Christians truly understand the Word of God? Do Christians truly understand eternal life?

What God is looking for in the lives of Christians is "faith in God." How quick will God respond when Christians use their faith?

Shortly after I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, one day I was up early in the morning baking a cake for later that day. The oven door of the stove was not opening easily, and it only came open about half way. I put the holders on the edge of the aluminum cake pan and took a hold of the edges of the cake pan to remove it from the oven. One holder was in the wrong position, and my hand came into contact with the edge of the cake pan. The oven was about 400 degrees, and my hand got burned from touching the cake pan. Immediately I said, "Thank You Jesus, for healing my hand."

My son came running into the kitchen. He could smell the odor of burned flesh. He wanted to know what happened? He asked, "Are you ok?" I said to him, "I'm Ok, the LORD healed my hand." Then I explained to him what happened.

About four hours later, when I was at work, I looked at my hand and there was not even a mark where the burn had been. God is good, and His Word works. God is looking for faith, and when His Children put faith in His Word, He responds according to their faith.

The world operates by the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:6,17). Christians should be operating by faith, which goes beyond the knowledge of good and evil. The knowledge of good and evil operates by the five senses, which includes what we see with our eyes. In 2 Corinthians 5:7 it says, "For we walk by faith, not by sight." There is a major difference between walking by faith or walking by sight.

These two are opposite of each other. We cannot walk by faith if we are going to go by what we see with our eyes.

Many people today say they are Christians. But, they do not have any idea of what it means to be a Christian. A Christian is someone who is born again in Christ Jesus. They still have a body of flesh and bones, which they had before they were born again in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:9 says, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

Do those who say they are Christians truly believe they are not in the flesh but in the Spirit? If they truly believe they are not in the flesh but in the Spirit of Christ, they should act like it. We should know if a person is a Christian by the way they live. They should be living by faith and not by sight.

There were many Christians living in Corinth at the time of the Apostle Paul. Paul called them "babes in Christ." In 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, the Apostle Paul wrote to those in Corinth, saying, "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ...I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able...For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?"

Natural people are those who are still in Adam (in the flesh). Christians are not in the flesh (but in the Spirit of Christ). Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 23:9, "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." Do Christians truly believe that God is their Father?

Because that God is our Father, Christians should be looking to God as their source and supply for everything they need. In Matthew 6:25, Jesus said, "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" Then in Matthew 6:31-33, Jesus said, "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?...(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things...But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

Just because we still have a body made of flesh and bones, that is not an excuse to live like the rest of the world lives. When we believe God, and believe the Word of God, we should walk by faith and not by sight.

Why Christians

Still Walk by Sight



In 2 Corinthians 4:3,4, the Apostle Paul explained why Christians still walk by sight. It says, "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost...In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."

Satan, who is the god of this world has blinded the minds of many Christians. These Christians do not believe the glorious gospel of Christ. Many Christians today do not believe they need the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Holy Spirit includes "the anointing to destroy the works of the Devil." Those who do not receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit still have their minds blinded by the teachings of men, who have not received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus received the baptism in the Holy Spirit at about the age of thirty, He received power over the works of the Devil. Acts 10:38 says, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."

In John 14:12, Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." When Jesus went to be with the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit to help Christians do the same works that Jesus did after He received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit at about the age of thirty.

All the works the Jesus did, were done by the anointing of the Holy Spirit within Jesus (John 14:10). When Christians receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit they receive the same anointing that Jesus received at about the age of thirty.

The Devil does not give up, even after a Christian receives the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. The first thing the Devil does, is he sends spirits of doubt and unbelief to torment the minds of those who already have the anointing.

When the disciples asked Jesus why they could not cast the deaf and dumb spirit out of the man's child in Matthew 17:19, Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, "...Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

The Devil causes doubt and unbelief in the minds of Christians so that their faith will not work. The greatest hindrance to Christians today is doubt and unbelief. When Christians let a spirit of doubt or unbelief torment their minds, their faith may not work for them.

When Christians decide they are going to walk by faith, the Devil sends a spirit of doubt and unbelief to stop them. Look at what happen to Peter in Matthew, 14:28-31, it says, "And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water...And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus...But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me...And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

Peter did not have any doubt, until he went according to what he saw. Peter began to operate by sight, rather than by faith. Sight and faith are opposites of each other. The spirit of doubt got Peter to think about what he saw with his eyes.

As long as the Devil can keep Christians operating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he can control what Christians believe in their hearts. If Christians are moved by circumstances, and the things they hear and see, faith will not work for them.

In 1 Timothy 6:12, it says, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." The good fight of faith is fighting against the spirits of this world that try to keep us from walking by faith. These spirits attack our minds day and night. They are constantly working to get us to seek the things of this world, and walk by sight.



A Lack of Knowledge



In Hosea 4:6, it says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children."

Many Christians do not understand the Word of God. They do not understand that God goes by His Word. God believes His Word will do whatsoever He says it will do. When God puts faith in His Word it comes to pass.

There are things written in the Word of God that need to be understood, then we can also live by the Word of God, not by the knowledge of good and evil.

According to "the Gospel of the kingdom of God," God gave us His Word. In Isaiah 53:4,5, it says, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted...But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." Then in Matthew 8:16,17, it says, "When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:..That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."

Then Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:21-24, "...Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps...Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth...Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously...Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."

What is written in Isaiah 53:4,5; Matthew 8:16,17, and 1 Peter 1:21-24 is what is called the Gospel. What we could not do, God did for us in Christ Jesus. Jesus went to the Cross (was crucified), died, and buried. This was done that we could be set free of all sins and iniquities, all sickness and disease, and all of the works of the Devil. Then on the third day Jesus arose again from the dead. To understand the Gospel, we need to understand the reason for Jesus coming into this world as the Son of Man, and the Son of God.

If Christians do not understand why Jesus came and did what He did for us, they will be deceived by the Devil, and will not benefit from what Jesus did for them.

In Genesis 3:1-6, the Devil used a serpent to deceive Eve into eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve then gave of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil to Adam, and he did eat also (Gen. 3:6,17). By a work of the Devil, sin and death came upon all mankind. Therefore, God sent His Son, Jesus, into this world to destroy the works of the Devil (1 John 3:8).

Jesus did what God the Father sent Him to do, by His death and resurrection from the dead. Therefore, in 1 John 2:2 it says, "And he is the propitiation (atonement) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

What it does not say in 1 John 2:2, is that "even though it is for the whole world, only those who believe and have faith in what the Word of God tells us will benefit from what Jesus did for them. Jesus paid the price for the sins of the whole world, but more people will spend eternity in hell than those who spend eternity in heaven. Why is that so? Because, the only ones who will benefit from what Jesus did for the whole world are those who live by faith in what Jesus did for them.

God is a faith God. God goes according to faith in His Word. God gave us His Word, but it will only be effective for those who believe His Word and put faith in His Word. This believing must be in a person's heart, not just in their mind.

Many people believe in their mind, what the Word of God says, but not in their heart. Therefore, they believe that by Jesus's stripes they are healed in their mind, but they still remain sick and die. This is true in every area of the Gospel of Christ. The believing must be in the heart, not just in the mind.

Every promise of God requires that we believe in our heart, not just in our mind. God looks at the hearts of people, not just at their minds. When God sees that we believe His Word in our heart, God confirms His Word with signs following. God does not always confirm His Word, when people only believe in their mind, and not in their heart.

In Psalm 66:18 it says, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." The Hebrew word for "hear," does not mean that God cannot hear what we say. It means, "God will not listen to what we say." God will only listen to the prayers of those whose heart is right with God. God looks at the hearts of people, and answers their prayers according to what they believe in their heart.

Why does God look at what people believe in their hearts rather than what they believe in their mind? The minds of people change according to their thoughts. Many of the thoughts of people come from the Devil, and not from God, or from His Word. God only honors His Word, not the words of those who do not believe His Word in their heart.

In Proverbs 4:23, it says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." What we do about the issues in our lives is determined by what we believe in our heart. They are not determined by what we believe in our mind. Therefore, God looks at what people believe in their hearts, not what people believe in their minds. This works to our advantage, for the thoughts that the Devil puts in our minds cannot stop God from answering our prayers, as long as we do not doubt in our heart.

I learned this by many years of experience in praying for people. The first time it happened, it took a long time for me to understand why God answered my prayer, even when I was one-hundred percent positive in my mind that He would not answer, if I did the praying.

On June 24, 1982, I was at a meeting with a number of others studying from a video tape, "the laying on of hands to heal the sick."

During the tape it was mentioned how to check arms to see if they are the right length or not. One of the people at the meeting checked her arms right away and found that one arm was shorter than the other by about three-quarters of an inch. She asked to stop the tape so we could pray for the LORD to bring out her arm to the same length as the other one. We waited until the tape was over and then we checked everyone's arms for proper length. There was one other person who's one arm was shorter than the other also.

We checked their arms every way we could to be sure one was shorter; that it was not just the way they were standing. After being sure, they asked me to pray with them that their arms would come out to the right length.

When they asked me to pray for them, in my mind I felt they were foolish. After all, there was a Pastor there who I was sure could do a better job of praying than I could. I said to them, what about the Pastor here, why not let him pray, he knows what to do? But they insisted that I pray for them.

In my mind I was saying "you people are foolish, if I pray nothing will happen." I thought there was "no way," with me praying that those arms would come out. After all, the Bible says in Mark 16:16,17, "these signs shall follow them that believe..." To me, that meant I must believe it in my mind and be totally convinced that they would actually come out when I prayed in order for them to come out. Yet, I was one hundred percent positive in my mind that they would not come out. I never prayed for physical healing for anyone before this and I was sure this would not work if I did the praying.

I did not tell them I was sure it would not work. After all, I was supposed to be a believer like the rest of them. I had read what it said in Mark 16:17. I knew Jesus would not lie, yet I was afraid to tell them it would not work. So I did not say anything to them about me not believing in my mind.

I put my hands under the woman's hands as she stretched out her arms toward me, and I started to pray in the Spirit first. Then, after a minute or so of praying in the Spirit I was still sure beyond all doubt in my mind that it would not work, but I had to continue. I went that far so I had to keep going. I said, "In the name of Jesus, I command these arms to come out to the same length, in Jesus' name." It wasn't easy to say those words, especially when in my mind I knew it was not going to work.

Oh! What a surprise when I watched the short arm come out to the length of the other arm. In my mind I was saying, this cannot be, it can not be true. Yet, it came out right in front of me. I was standing there watching it come out.

Then the man came to have me pray for him. This time I checked his arms first, a little closer, making sure, beyond all doubt, that they were not the same length; that one was shorter than the other. Now I had no choice, I had to pray for his arm, being he had just seen the woman's arm come out. I was on the spot, I couldn't tell him that it would not work, even though I was sure in my mind that it would not happen a second time. Maybe once, but never twice. Again I was one hundred percent sure in my mind that nothing was going to happen. I would pray and they would stay the same. I was sure of that, yet I had to pray for him. I was on the spot with no other choice but to pray like I did for the woman.

Once again, I prayed, holding my hands under his. I prayed in the Spirit first for about a minute or so; still not believing in my mind that it would work, I said, "In the name of Jesus I command these arms to come out to the right length, in Jesus' name." Just like the woman's arm, his also came out to the same length as the other one. Praise the LORD! Thank the LORD!

The LORD answered the prayer, not according to my mind but according to His Word, which was in my heart and in their heart. It took a long time for me to understand why the LORD answered my prayer even when my mind was positive it would not work if I did the praying.

The reason many Christians do not get their prayers answered is because they pray according to their mind, rather than according to the Word of God. God confirms His Word, but not the words of people who are not believing in their heart. God does not do our will. God only does His Will, according to His Word.

Christians must build up their faith by doing what the Word of God tells us to do. In Jude 1:20 it says, "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit" (NKJV). This is one way to build up your faith. Another way is to keep spending time studying the Word of God as it says in 2 Timothy 2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Rightly dividing the Word of truth, involves making sure what you are studying does agree with the inspired written Word of God (which is the Hebrew and Greek text).

We need to be positive according to what it truly says, not according to what we think is says in our minds. Also, not according to what someone else said it says.

For instance in John 10:10,11, Jesus said, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life (zoe), and that they might have it more abundantly...I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life (psuche) for the sheep." The Greek word "zoe" in John 10:10 is the very life of God which is spiritual life in the spirit. The Greek word "psuche" in John 10:11 is natural life in the flesh.

There is a major difference between spiritual life in the spirit and natural life in the flesh. In John 10:10, Jesus was not speaking of operating by the thoughts that come to our natural mind. Jesus was speaking of operating from our spirit, according to the Written Word of God in the inspired Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.

If we let our minds think Jesus was speaking of operating according to our natural mind of the flesh in John 10:10, we will begin thinking of trying to get God to do our will of the flesh by the thoughts of our mind. God does not go by what we believe according to the flesh. God goes by what we believe in our heart according to what is written in the inspired written Word of God.

When we go by what it says in the inspired written Word of God, and believe in our heart, not just in our mind that God will answer our prayers. God will confirm His Word with signs following.

God is looking for those who will believe His Word, and do His will. God's will is revealed in the inspired Word of God. The inspired Word of God contains everything we need to know about God and His will for our lives. Knowing God's will is important, but it is more important that we become doers of God's will. Knowing is important but doing what we know is more important.

Many Christians today do not know that God wants them to have an abundant life in the spirit (John 10:10). This abundant life in the spirit comes by putting faith in what Jesus said in John 8:31,23, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed...And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Continue means, do not stop. Continue includes everyday, twenty-four hours a day.

The good part of continuing is that as we continue to become doers of the Word, we benefit in both, our spiritual life and in our natural life. We still have needs in the natural life concerning food, clothing, shelter, etc.

Jesus gave us His Word in John 15:7, saying, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." That means, we do not need to live in poverty, like those of this world who have no hope, and do not believe the promises of God. Jesus said "...ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." What do you want to have, that you do not have? If it is not outside of the will of God, it is yours "if you ask in faith, it will be given to you by God."

If you need a car to drive instead of walking wherever you go, God will get you a car if you will abide in His Word, and ask according to His Word. It takes faith to receive a car from God, but with God nothing is impossible.

Many Christians today think they need to spend a lot of time doing what the world does, working hours and hours and saving up a lot of money so they can buy a car to drive. God did not say that is the way to get a car to drive, so you can go where God wants you to go and tell others the good news of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus.

If we limit ourselves to live like those who live in poverty, God is not pleased. God is the provider of an abundant life, which is in the spirit. Operating in the spiritual realm, we call those things which are not as though they are (Rom. 4:17). We speak to the things of this world, and receive according to what we speak.

Just as an example, in Mark 11:12-14, Jesus was walking with His disciples and he saw a fig tree with leaves, but no fruit. Jesus wanted to have some figs to eat, He was hungry. But, the tree did not have any figs. Therefore, Jesus cursed the fig tree, and it died. Was it wrong for Jesus to desire to have some figs to eat from a tree which had leaves on it? No. Those types of fig trees should have figs also when they have leaves.

God does not say in His Word that it is wrong to desire to have a fig to eat when we are hungry. God did not say we must wait until He provides the food we desire to eat. God makes it clear beyond all doubt that He wants us to trust Him to supply all we need. God supplies whatsoever we need when we ask in faith (Heb. 11:6).

Jesus said, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7). In the Law of Moses there was the blessings and the curses. The Law was a school master to teach us the will of God (Gal. 3:24,25). We do not receive the blessings by works of the Law, but by faith in the Word of God.

Jesus bore the curses for us, but that did not remove the blessings. The blessings are still there, only the curses are taken away. God wants to bless us for our obedience to His Word. God wants us to have more than we need so we can give to others that are in need (Eph. 4:28).

Do not think that living in poverty is the life of a Christian. God loves to bless those who are obedient. The blessings are still here for those who are obedient in doing the will of God. By faith we can receive everything we have need of. If we continue in God's Word, and do what it says, we will be blessed, and not cursed.

The difference between victory in this life and our life to come is in our faith. That faith must be in God and His Word, not in ourselves. We must "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called..." (1 Tim. 6:12). Get all the parts to this series of Mini-Books on "According To Your Faith."

For more information on this subject, get all of the parts to this series of Mini-Books. For other help, you can also go to our Web sites on the Internet and download as many free books as you desire. Go to:

www.handsforjesus.cc

www.handsforjesus.org