Dale Bors - The Tempering Process - Houston, Texas

My thoughts have been in 1 Corinthians 12:18-20, "But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased Him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body." Verses 24-27, "For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."

For me, this is a very special occasion to be back in Houston.  It was here, back in 1951 that I first made my choice to start walking with God. So today is a memorial of sorts; a memorial of Heaven's influence, of Heaven's touch  upon a responsive life.  Always remember that God has first chosen us. These members of our body don't choose the place they are set in. That is God's design in His household.  We are just part of this body because of His  influence and His love.  Verse 18, "As it hath pleased him."  There have been times when we haven't been satisfied.  Some have attended these meetings from the time they were babies, but that alone hasn't brought peace. Other members have influenced our generation and each as a member has an influence on others in the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:4-6, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."  There are seven ones mentioned here yet not all accept this as we do, but we believe it. God has tempered the body together that there is no schism. Men and women have tried to unite themselves, and it works to a certain degree, but it never changes the heart. This tempering process is when the Lord separates us from our own environment first.  Copper, gold, and silver must always be separated; that which is earthly must be separated.  When the Lord called Abraham and Sara out, He separated them from an environment and an influence that was idolatrous.  We're living in a society that is just as idolatrous.  God's truth is eternal, and it's demonstrated by the life of Jesus and what is spoken by Him. It cannot be changed, because it's eternal.

Isaiah 51:1, "Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged."  That is speaking about our father Abraham. His name and nature was changed.  Abram meant "lofty father;" Sarai meant "contentious."  What a couple!  Look at what was accomplished in their lives think of their respect, their response to the touch of the Lord.  Genesis 12:1, "Now the Lord had said unto Abram, 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee.'"  The Lord made their choices; they were His workmanship.  The tendency of this flesh is to glory in the flesh, but we are here because of what Jesus has accomplished in us.  His work is continuing on.  For many metals, the tempering process is not a pleasant experience.  We can get discouraged, but discouragement hinders the tempering process.  When the Lord spoke to Abraham, he built an altar; it was like a memorial. (Genesis 12:8)  A memorial is something that's very personal; it has an influence on our conduct and our choices in life.

Lot, on the other hand, was a weak brother, but he was still a brother. It was his choice that he set his tent toward Sodom. We can always fill our weaknesses and our lacks; Lot's choice was to go Sodom.  Sometimes we're a bit headstrong and we get ourselves into hot water.  That was the cause of strife that came between Lot's herdsmen and Abraham's herdsmen. (Genesis 13)  The Lord has tempered the body so there isn't any schism.  Abraham and Sara became separated by the Lord; an eternal work was beginning in their lives.  They were members in particular; they were not an ordinary run of humanity.  Genesis 13:8, "And Abram said unto Lot, 'Let there be no strife, I pray thee between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we be brethren.'"  He would fight for a brother but he'd never fight with his brother.  He told him to choose first.  Lot was immature in his thinking, but he was still a brother.  He chose the well-watered plains of Jordan.  Pretty soon, we see Lot down in Sodom and God wasn't in that choice. After he and Abram separated, God spoke.  Lot saw only one direction but Abraham saw the whole picture.  The Lord not only wants to show us possibilities but the steps to be taken.  That is all part of the tempering process. Proverbs 3:6 says, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."  We know the Lord has never misdirected one person's life.

In Genesis 14, Lot was taken captive.  Abraham could have said, "It serves him right."  How do you feel when you see a fallen brother? Verse 14, "And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan."  Galatians 6:1, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."  The shepherd will always look for His sheep until he finds them.  God has invested so much in us to be salvaged and have a life with a future.

The tempering process begins in the home life.  Genesis 18:19, "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of Him."  Parents will command their children by their own lives.  Child raising must begin at home.  I received God's love in my home, and children that respect their parents in their growing up years, learn to respect the God of heaven in their parents' attitude toward the meetings and toward God's servants, etc.  I have always been grateful for my parents that loved the truth and the ministry.

Joseph underwent a tempering process.  At age 17, he was taken by his brothers and stripped and placed in a pit without water, and his brothers sat down to eat.  How would you feel in that situation?  You could be bitter in spirit.  But the Lord allowed that experience to temper young Joseph's life.  He was sold as a slave and then carried down into Egypt, where he was bought by a man he respected. Joseph helped God to make that situation possible before it got undesirable.  He was next put into the dungeon, and that environment was a safer atmosphere than the environment in that home.

Will we allow ourselves to become discouraged?  Joseph was a victim, but that was part of the tempering process.  He was in Egypt for 17 years, alone without any fellowship except for God's. When he was brought before Pharaoh he said, "Interpretations belong to God."  (Genesis 40:8)  A famine was coming and some preparations had to be made.  Is there such a man in whom there is the spirit of God?  Joseph was that life that filled the gap. He was chosen; it was Heaven's design.  Pharaoh gave him a wife and they had two sons together. Manasseh meant "God has made me forget all the toil in my father's house."  Sometimes things are so wounding that God gives us a little Manasseh.  Ephraim meant "God has made me fruitful in the land of my bondage."  We might think at times that we'd be more useful over there, but no, we are just as useful here; we are just as useful as we want to be.

Jesus faced many similar experiences during His short stay on earth, and His life radiated the truth of God.  We're here today because of the life of Jesus.  There comes the day of judgment, and judgment doesn't mean condemnation.  The brothers of Joseph faced judgment; Joseph could have blamed them, but he didn't. Genesis 45:5, "Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life."  How is that possible?  It's only by the grace of God, it's part of the tempering process; it will unite us, not only on earth but in heaven.  We thank God for what we share of this same provision.