Immerse: Messiah – 8 Week Bible Reading Experience

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Read Through The New Testament in just 8 weeks with the NLT Bible and Immerse: Messiah
QUICK START GUIDE
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.

Currently featured in the Saddleback Church "Anchored Life Challenge." To join the challenge and read through the New Testament in 8 weeks, join at https://saddleback.com/anchored

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 32
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Stacie Wood: [00:00:00] Welcome to Immerse Messiah Reading for Week 7, Day 32.

Rick Warren: Here is the main point. We have a high priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.

Rick Warren: And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our high priest must make an offering too. If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy. A shadow of the real one in heaven.

Rick Warren: For when Moses was getting ready to build the tabernacle, God gave him this warning. Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain. But now Jesus, our high priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood. [00:01:00] For he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.

Rick Warren: If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, He said, The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt.

Rick Warren: They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, says the Lord. But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God. And they will be my people, and they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, You should know the Lord, for everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already, and I will forgive [00:02:00] their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.

Rick Warren: When God speaks of a new covenant, it means He has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear. That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. There were two rooms in that tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table.

Rick Warren: This room was called the Holy Place. Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. In that room were a gold incense altar, and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, aran staff that sprouted leaves.

Rick Warren: And the stone tablets of the Covenant, above the Ark, were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over [00:03:00] the Ark's cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now, when these things were all in place. The priests regularly entered the First Room as they performed their religious duties, but only the High Priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year.

Rick Warren: And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. By these regulations, the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use. This is an illustration pointing to the present time, for the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them.

Rick Warren: For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies, physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established. So [00:04:00] Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world.

Rick Warren: With his own blood, not the blood of goats and calves, he entered the most holy place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people's bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God.

Rick Warren: For by the power of the Eternal Spirit, Christ offered Himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why He is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has [00:05:00] promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.

Rick Warren: Now, when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead. The will goes into effect only after the person's death. While the person who made it is still alive, the will cannot be put into effect. That is why even the first covenant was put into effect with the blood of an animal.

Rick Warren: For after Moses had read each of God's commandments to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats along with water and sprinkled both the book of God's law and all the people, using hyssop branches and scarlet wool. Then he said, This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you. And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the tabernacle and on everything used for worship.

Rick Warren: In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. [00:06:00] For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. That is why the tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.

Rick Warren: For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself, to appear now before God on our behalf. And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the most holy place, year after year with the blood of an animal.

Rick Warren: If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, He has appeared at the end of the age, to remove sin by His own death as a sacrifice. [00:07:00] And just as each person is destined to die once, and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.

Rick Warren: He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for Him. The old system under the Law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship.

Rick Warren: If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible [00:08:00] for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Rick Warren: That is why when Christ came into the world, He said to God, You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings, but you have given me a body to offer. You are not pleased with burnt offerings, or other offerings for sin. Then I said, Look, I have come to do your will, O God, as is written about me in the Scriptures.

Rick Warren: First, Christ said, You did not want animal sacrifices, or sin offerings, or burnt offerings, or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them, though they are required by the law of Moses. Then he said, Look, I have come to do your will. He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect.

Rick Warren: For God's will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. Under the Old Covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the [00:09:00] altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our high priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time.

Rick Warren: Then he sat down in the place of honor at God's right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering, he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, This is the new covenant I will make.

Rick Warren: With my people on that day, says the Lord, I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds. Then he says, I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds. And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. [00:10:00] And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven's most holy place because of the blood of Jesus.

Rick Warren: By his death, Jesus opened a new and life giving way through the curtain into the most holy place. And since we have a great high priest who rules over God's house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts, fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

Rick Warren: Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works, and let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Rick Warren: Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the [00:11:00] truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God's judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Rick Warren: Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God and have treated the blood of the covenant which made us holy. As if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit, who brings God's mercy to us. For we know the one who said, I will take revenge, I will pay them back.

Rick Warren: He also said, the Lord will judge his own people. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful, even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes [00:12:00] you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things.

Rick Warren: You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you. You accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you. Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will.

Rick Warren: Then you will receive all that He has promised. For in just a little while, the coming one will come and not delay, and my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away. But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.

Rick Warren: [00:13:00] Faith shows the reality of what we hope for. It is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God's command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

Rick Warren: It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel's offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith. It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying.

Rick Warren: He disappeared because God took him, for before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God, and it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek [00:14:00] Him. It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood.

Rick Warren: He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith, Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith. It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance.

Rick Warren: He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith, for he was like a foreigner living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations. A city designed and built by God.

Rick Warren: It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child. Though she was barren and was too old, she believed that God [00:15:00] would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man, who was as good as dead. A nation with so many people, that like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.

Rick Warren: All these people died, still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.

Rick Warren: If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him.

Rick Warren: Abraham, who had received God's promises, [00:16:00] was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted. Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.

Rick Warren: It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff. It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt.

Rick Warren: He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left. It was by faith that Moses parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king's command. [00:17:00] It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter.

Rick Warren: He chose to share the oppression of God's people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king's anger.

Rick Warren: He kept right on going, because he kept his eyes on the one who was invisible. It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover, and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts, so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons. It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea, as though they were on dry ground.

Rick Warren: But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned. It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven [00:18:00] days, and the walls came crashing down. It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God, for she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

Rick Warren: How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith, these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shot the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword.

Rick Warren: Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were [00:19:00] jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips.

Rick Warren: Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning. Some were sawed in half. And others were killed with a sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats. Destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world. Wandering over deserts and mountains. Hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

Rick Warren: All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith. Yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up, and let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Rick Warren: We do this by keeping our eyes on [00:20:00] Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne. Think of all the hostility He endured from sinful people. Then you won't become weary and give up.

Rick Warren: After all, you have not yet given your lives and your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as His children? He said, My child, don't make light of the Lord's discipline, and don't give up when He corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child.

Rick Warren: As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined by its father? If God doesn't discipline you as He does all of His children, it means that [00:21:00] you are illegitimate and are not really His children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn't we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits and live forever?

Rick Warren: For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God's discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in His holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening, it's painful. But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Rick Warren: So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet, so that those who are weak and lame will not fall, but become strong. Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

Rick Warren: Look after each other, so that none of you fails to receive the grace [00:22:00] of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father's blessing, he was rejected.

Rick Warren: It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears. You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. For they heard an awesome trumpet blast, and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking.

Rick Warren: They staggered back under God's command. If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death. Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, I am terrified and trembling. No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the [00:23:00] city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering.

Rick Warren: You have come to the assembly of God's firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven, who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.

Rick Warren: Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the one who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, We will certainly not escape if we reject the one who speaks to us from heaven. When God spoke from Mount Sinai, his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise.

Rick Warren: Once again, [00:24:00] I will shake not only the earth, but the heavens also. This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful. And please God by worshipping him with holy fear and awe, for our God is a devouring fire.

Rick Warren: Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it. Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.

Rick Warren: Give honor to marriage and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. Don't love money. Be satisfied with what you have. For [00:25:00] God has said, I will never fail you. I will never abandon you. So we can say with confidence, the Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear.

Rick Warren: What can mere people do to me? Remember your leaders who taught you the Word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God's grace, not from rules about food, which don't help those who follow them.

Rick Warren: We have an altar from which the priests in the tabernacle have no right to eat. Under the old system, the high priest brought the blood of animals into the holy place as a sacrifice for sin, and the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp. So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of [00:26:00] his own blood.

Rick Warren: So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore. For this world is not our permanent home. We are looking forward to a home yet to come. Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to His name. And don't forget to do good and to share with those in need.

Rick Warren: These are the sacrifices that please God. Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit. Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honorably in everything we do, and especially pray that I will be able to come back to you soon.

Rick Warren: Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great [00:27:00] Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with His blood, may He equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him.

Rick Warren: All glory to Him forever and ever. Amen. I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation. I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released from jail. If he comes here soon, I will bring him with me to see you. Greet all your leaders and all the believers there.

Rick Warren: The believers from Italy send you their greetings. May God's grace be with you all.

Stacie Wood: This concludes today's Immerse Reading Experience. Thank you for joining us.