Immerse: Messiah – 8 Week Bible Reading Experience

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You have the same 24 hours in your day as the most accomplished people in the world. So why doesn't it feel that way? Follow along on this special 6 episode series as we take a look at how to make more time. By following biblical principles and taking a look at what you really want, Making Time shares the secret to having all the time you need... with a little help from some friends.

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Read Through The New Testament in just 8 weeks with the NLT Bible and Immerse: Messiah
3 ways to get the most out of your experience
  1. Use Immerse: Messiah instead of your regular chapter-and-verse Bible. This special reader’s edition restores the Bible to its natural simplicity and beauty by removing chapter and verse numbers and other historical additions. Letters look like letters, songs look like
    songs, and the original literary structures are visible in each book. 
  2. Commit to making this a community experience. Immerse is designed for groups to encounter large portions of the Bible together
    for 8 weeks—more like a book club, less like a Bible study. By meeting every week in small groups and discussing what you read in open, honest conversations, you and your community can come together to be transformed through an authentic experience with the Scriptures.
  3. Aim to understand the big story. Read through “The Stories and the Story” (p. 483) to see how the books of the Bible work together
    to tell God’s story of his creation’s restoration. As you read through Immerse: Messiah, rather than ask, “How do I fit God into my busy life?” begin asking, “How can I join in God’s great plan by living out my part in his story?”
4 Questions to get your conversations started:
  1. What stood out to you this week?
  2. Was there anything confusing or troubling?
  3. Did anything make you think differently about God?
  4. How might this change the way we live?
Part of NLT Immerse: The Reading Bible, Complete Set, the Winner of the 2022 Christian Book Award for Bible of the Year!
Messiah is the first of six volumes of Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience program. Messiah takes the reader on a new and unique journey through every book of the New Testament. Each part of Messiah begins with one of the Gospels, and together combine to provide the reader with enjoyable and impactful readings all centered on Jesus. The end result is a Bible developed for the purpose of being read and understood, not referred to. Messiah is a new way to interact with God’s Word.
Messiah delivers Scripture to the reader as it was originally created: without chapter or verse breaks. While references are made available for ease of finding specific Scripture references, those references do not appear within the actual text of Scripture. This makes for uninterrupted reading of God’s Word. Created with the look and feel of a paperback book, and written using the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, the most readable translation available, Messiah enables you to easily read and understand the Bible.

What is Immerse: Messiah – 8 Week Bible Reading Experience?

Read (and listen!) through the New Testament in 8 weeks with your small group or on your own.

Immerse: Messiah is the first of six volumes in Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience. Messiah takes the reader on a unique journey through every book of the New Testament. Each section of Messiah begins with one of the Gospels, and together they combine to provide a life-changing reading experience centered on Jesus. This fresh arrangement of the books highlights the depth of the New Testament’s fourfold witness to Jesus the Messiah. The Son of God, who fulfills all the longings and promises of the collected Scriptures, can be experienced in Messiah through the rich variety of lenses provided by the books of the new covenant.

The Immerse Bible Series is the proud winner of the prestigious Bible of the Year award from the ECPA Christian Book Awards. Immerse: The Reading Bible is specially crafted for a distraction-free listening and reading experience, helping you dive in and get immersed in Scripture. You’ll have a great experience using Immerse by yourself. But for an even richer experience, try reading with friends.

Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience is an invitation to a different kind of community interaction with the Bible. Less like a Bible study, more like a book club.

- 8 or 16-week Bible listening plans take you through a large section of the Bible like the New Testament or the Torah
- Meet once a week for a free-flowing discussion about the text
- Wrestle with questions and celebrate ‘aha!’ moments together

Nothing impacts spiritual growth more than spending time in Scripture. Immerse removes many of the barriers that make Bible reading difficult and invites communities to become transformed together through the power of God’s word.

 Welcome to the saddleback church anchored life challenge which can also by found on the saddleback companion app or by purchasing the immerse messiah book from tyndale.

The anchored life challenge includes speakers such as Andy Wood, Rick Warren, and Stacie Wood.
Immerse Messiah 6

Stacie Wood: [00:00:00] Welcome to Immerse Messiah Reading for Week 2, Day 6.

Rick Warren: Volume 2 of Luke Acts, The Book of Acts.

Rick Warren: In my first book, I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time.

Rick Warren: And he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the kingdom of God. Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised. As I told you before, John baptized with water. But in just a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Rick Warren: So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, Lord, [00:01:00] has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom? He replied, The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere, in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Rick Warren: After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching. And they could no longer see Him. As they strained to see Him rising into heaven, two white robed men suddenly stood among them. Men of Galilee, they said, why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday He will return from heaven in the same way you saw Him go.

Rick Warren: Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile. When they arrived, they went to the upstairs room of the [00:02:00] house where they were staying. Here are the names of those who are present. Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James, son of Alphaeus.

Rick Warren: Simon Zealot and Judas, son of James, they all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary, the mother of Jesus, several other women and the brothers of Jesus. During this time, when about 120 believers were together in one place. Peter stood up and addressed them. Brothers, he said, the scriptures had to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided those who arrested Jesus.

Rick Warren: This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David. Judas was one of us, and shared in the ministry with us. Judas had bought a field with the money he received for his treachery. Falling headfirst there, his body split open, spilling out all his intestines. The news of his death spread to all the [00:03:00] people of Jerusalem.

Rick Warren: And they gave the place the Aramaic name Akaldama, which means field of blood. Peter continued, This was written in the book of Psalms, where it says, Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it. It also says, Let someone else take his position. So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus, from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us.

Rick Warren: Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus resurrection. So they nominated two men, Joseph, called Barsabbas, also known as Justice, and Matthias. Then they all prayed, O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us.

Rick Warren: Transcripts provided by [00:04:00] Transcription Outsourcing, LLC. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them, and everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages.

Rick Warren: As the Holy Spirit gave them this ability at that time, there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers. They were completely amazed. How can this be?

Rick Warren: They exclaimed. These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages. Here we are, Parthians, Medes. Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, [00:05:00] Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs.

Rick Warren: And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done. They stood there amazed and perplexed. What can this mean? They asked each other, but others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, They're just drunk, that's all. Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem.

Rick Warren: Make no mistake about this. These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. 9 o'clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel. In the last days, God says, I will pour out my spirit [00:06:00] upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.

Rick Warren: In those days, I will pour out my spirit even on my servants, men and women alike, and they will prophesy. And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.

Rick Warren: But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. We'll be saved people of Israel. Listen, God publicly endorsed Jesus. The Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders and signs through him as you well know, but God knew what would happen and his pre arranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed with the help of lawless Gentiles.

Rick Warren: You nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God [00:07:00] released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. King David said this about him, I see that the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad and my tongue shouts His praises.

Rick Warren: My body rests in hope. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence. Dear brothers, think about this. You can be sure that the Patriarch David wasn't referring to himself. For he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us.

Rick Warren: But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David's own descendants would sit on his throne. David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah's resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him [00:08:00] among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave. God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this.

Rick Warren: Now, he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God's right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit in the place of honor at my right hand, until I humble your enemies.

Rick Warren: making them a footstool under your feet. So let everyone in Israel know for certain. That God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified to be both Lord and messiah, Peter's words keep your heart and they said to him and to the other apostles. Brothers, what should we do? Peter replied, Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God and be [00:09:00] baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

Rick Warren: Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away, all who have been called by the Lord our God. Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, Save yourselves from this crooked generation. Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day, about 3, 000 in all.

Rick Warren: All the believers devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals. Including the Lord's Supper, and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place, and shared everything they had.

Rick Warren: They sold their property and possessions, and shared the money with those in need. [00:10:00] They worshipped together at the temple each day. Met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity, all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day, the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

Rick Warren: Peter and John went to the temple one afternoon to take part in the three o'clock prayer service. As they approached the temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day, he was put beside the temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the temple.

Rick Warren: When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, Look at us. The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, I don't have any silver or gold for you, but I'll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and [00:11:00] walk.

Rick Warren: Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man's feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk. Then walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the temple with them. All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God.

Rick Warren: When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the beautiful gate, they were absolutely astounded. They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon's colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John. Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. People of Israel, he said, what is so surprising about this?

Rick Warren: And why stare at us, as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of all our ancestors, who has [00:12:00] brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate's decision to release him.

Rick Warren: You rejected this holy, righteous one, and instead demanded the release of a murderer. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact. Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed. And you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus name has healed him before your very eyes.

Rick Warren: Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance. But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah, that he must suffer these things. Now, repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then, times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and He will again send you [00:13:00] Jesus, your appointed Messiah.

Rick Warren: For He must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through His holy prophets. Moses said, The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything he tells you. Then Moses said, Anyone who will not listen to that prophet will be completely cut off from God's people.

Rick Warren: Starting with Samuel, every prophet spoke about what is happening today. You are the children of those prophets, and you are included in the covenant God promised to your ancestors. For God said to Abraham, Through your descendants, all the families on earth will be blessed. When God raised up His servant, Jesus, He sent Him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways.

Rick Warren: While Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were [00:14:00] confronted by the priests, the captain of the temple guard, and some of the Sadducees. These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead. They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning.

Rick Warren: But many of the people who heard their message believed it. So the number of men who believed now totaled about 5, 000. The next day, the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem. Annas, the high priest, was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest.

Rick Warren: They brought in the two disciples and demanded, By what power or in whose name have you done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, Rulers and elders of our people, Are we being questioned today because we've done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed?[00:15:00]

Rick Warren: Let me clearly state to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified, but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the scriptures where it says, The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.

Rick Warren: There is salvation in no one else. God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John. For they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.

Rick Warren: But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves. What should we do with these men? They asked each other, We can't deny that they have performed a [00:16:00] miraculous sign and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it.

Rick Warren: But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus name again. So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than Him?

Rick Warren: We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard. The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go, because they didn't know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God for this miraculous sign, the healing of a man who had been lame for more than 40 years.

Rick Warren: As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to [00:17:00] God. O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them, you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying, Why were the nations so angry?

Rick Warren: Why did they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepared for battle. The rulers gathered together against the Lord and against His Messiah. In fact, this has happened here in this very city. For Herod Antipas Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed.

Rick Warren: But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will. And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power. May miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant, Jesus.[00:18:00]

Rick Warren: After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. All the believers were united in heart and mind, and they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God's great blessing was upon them all.

Rick Warren: There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas, which means son of encouragement. He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus.

Rick Warren: He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles. But there was a certain man named Ananias, who with his wife, Sapphira, Sold some property. He brought part of the money to [00:19:00] the apostles claiming it was the full amount. With his wife's consent, he kept the rest. Then Peter said, Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart?

Rick Warren: You lied to the Holy Spirit and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell as you wished, and after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren't lying to us, but to God. As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died.

Rick Warren: Everyone who heard about it was terrified. Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, And took him out and buried him. About three hours later, his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, Was this the price you and your husband received for your land? Yes, she replied. That was the price.

Rick Warren: And Peter said, How could [00:20:00] the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out too. Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.

Rick Warren: Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened. The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers were meeting regularly at the temple in the area known as Solomon's Colonnade. But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them.

Rick Warren: Yet, more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord, crowds of both men and women. As a result of the apostles work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats, so that Peter's shadow might fall across some of them as he went [00:21:00] by. Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits.

Rick Warren: And they were all healed. The high priest and his officials, who were Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates of the jail and brought them out. Then he told them, go to the temple and give the people this message of life.

Rick Warren: So at daybreak, the apostles entered the temple, as they were told, and immediately began teaching. When the high priest and his officials arrived, they convened the high council, the full assembly of the elders of Israel. Then they sent for the apostles to be brought from the jail for trial. But when the temple guards went to the jail, the men were gone.

Rick Warren: So they returned to the council and reported, The jail was securely locked, with the guards standing outside. But when we opened the gates No [00:22:00] one was there. When the captain of the temple guard and the leading priests heard this, they were perplexed, wondering where it would all end. Then someone arrived with startling news.

Rick Warren: The men you put in jail are standing in the temple teaching the people. The captain went with his temple guards and arrested the apostles, but without violence, for they were afraid the people would stone them. Then they brought the apostles before the high council, where the high priest confronted them.

Rick Warren: We gave you strict orders never again to teach in this man's name, he said. Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him, and you want to make us responsible for his death. But Peter and the apostles replied, We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross.

Rick Warren: Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and [00:23:00] Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. We are witnesses of these things, and so was the Holy Spirit, who was given by God to those who obey him. When they heard this, the High Council was furious and decided to kill them.

Rick Warren: But one member. A Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while. Then he said to his colleagues, Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men. Some time ago, there was that fellow Thutis, who pretended to be someone great.

Rick Warren: About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing. After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was [00:24:00] killed too, and all his followers were scattered. So my advice is, leave these men alone.

Rick Warren: Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God. The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go.

Rick Warren: The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message. Jesus is the Messiah. But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent.

Rick Warren: The Greek speaking believers complained about the Hebrew speaking [00:25:00] believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, we apostles should spend our time teaching the Word of God, not running a food program.

Rick Warren: And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the Word. Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following, Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, Philip Procorus.

Rick Warren: Ner Tieman, parms and Nicholas of Antioch, an earlier convert to the Jewish faith. These seven were presented to the apostles who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. So God's message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem and [00:26:00] many of the Jewish priests were converted to.

Rick Warren: This concludes

Stacie Wood: today's immerse reading experience. Thank you for joining us.