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 14
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Stacie Wood: [00:00:00] Welcome to Immerse Messiah Reading for week three, day

Rick Warren: fourteen.

Rick Warren: Immersed in Galatians,

Rick Warren: the super apostles in Corinth weren't the only ones trying to discredit Paul. In the Roman province of Galatia, a region in Asia Minor, modern day Turkey, some troublemakers were bringing a different version of the good news about Jesus into the churches Paul had founded. They were teaching that even those who had faith in Jesus needed to obey certain parts of the Jewish law, particularly circumcision.

Rick Warren: These false teachers evidently claimed that Paul had learned this from the other apostles and was teaching this elsewhere. Even though Paul was about to leave for Jerusalem, he recognized the urgency of writing a letter to the Galatians right away. The meaning of the gospel itself was at stake. In his letter, Paul sets the record straight regarding what he taught, where he learned it, [00:01:00] and what following Jesus really involves.

Rick Warren: We can tell immediately that Paul is upset by what's happening in Galatia. A standard feature of Paul's letter is an opening word of thanksgiving for the recipients, but Paul skips it and goes straight to his reprimand. I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God. You are following a different way that pretends to be the good news, but is not the good news at all.

Rick Warren: Paul first explains that he received the gospel message directly from Jesus, not the apostles. He goes on to say that the apostles in Jerusalem believe the same thing he does. Gentiles who follow Jesus don't need to keep the Jewish law. Next, Paul describes a confrontation he had with the Apostle Peter over this issue.

Rick Warren: Peter had stopped eating meals with Gentiles because of pressure from some Jewish believers who thought all Gentile believers should be circumcised. This struck at the heart of God's revelation that there is a new, single family based [00:02:00] on faith in Jesus. Paul had challenged Peter publicly because he was not following the truth of the gospel message.

Rick Warren: Paul then devotes the bulk of this letter to explaining why it isn't necessary for Gentiles to keep the Jewish law. He reminds the Galatians that God gave them the Holy Spirit and worked miracles among them as soon as they believed the message about the Messiah. They already had signs of God's new world existing in their community, so why should they now think they needed to follow Jewish observances?

Rick Warren: Paul provides an in depth discussion of Israel's history, including the crucial sequence of Abraham. The giving of the law under Moses, and then the coming of Jesus. Although Abraham lived before the Jewish law was established, he received God's promises of land and a worldwide family, and he believed those promises by faith.

Rick Warren: Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. Paul argues that the later coming of the Jewish law [00:03:00] can't undo the covenant made with Abraham. The law was given to God's people only for a period of time, as a guardian, until the Messiah came. Now that Jesus has come, everyone who has faith in him becomes a true child of Abraham, and an heir of the promises made to him.

Rick Warren: The dividing line between Jew and Gentile are dissolved. And now one family of Abraham exists through faith in Jesus. Because of their equal status in God's family, starting to follow the requirements of the Jewish law would be a giant step backward for the Galatians. God's story has already moved on.

Rick Warren: All people are now welcome to receive Jesus and join the family without having to become Jewish or follow Jewish law. Now just one question remains. If the Gentiles don't follow the Jewish law, what will keep them from living immoral lives? Paul emphasizes that God's Holy Spirit living in them empowers them to follow the good ways of God's kingdom.[00:04:00]

Rick Warren: As Paul says in closing, it doesn't matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God's peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle. They are the new people of God.

Stacie Wood: The Letter to the Galatians. This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father. who raised Jesus from the dead. All the brothers and sisters here join me in sending this letter to the churches of Galatia.

Stacie Wood: May God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Jesus gave his life for our [00:05:00] sins just as God our Father planned in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. All glory to God forever and ever. Amen. I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ.

Stacie Wood: You are following a different way that pretends to be the good news, but is not the good news at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. Let God's curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven who preaches a different kind of good news than the one we preached to you.

Stacie Wood: I say again what we have said before. If anyone preaches any other good news than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed. Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of [00:06:00] people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant. Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning.

Stacie Wood: I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ. You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion. How I violently persecuted God's church. I did my best to destroy it. I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors.

Stacie Wood: But even before I was born God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me, so that I would proclaim the good news about Jesus to the Gentiles. [00:07:00] When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before I was.

Stacie Wood: Instead, I went away into Arabia, and later I returned to the city of Damascus. Then three years later, I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. The only other apostle I met at that time was James, the Lord's brother. I declare before God that what I am writing to you is not a lie.

Stacie Wood: After that visit, I went north into the provinces of Syria and Cilicia. And still, the churches in Christ that are in Judea didn't know me personally. All they knew was that people were saying, The one who used to persecute us is now preaching the very faith he tried to destroy, and they praised [00:08:00] God because of me.

Stacie Wood: Then, fourteen years later, I went back to Jerusalem again, this time with Barnabas, and Titus came along, too. I went there because God revealed to me that I should go. While I was there, I met privately with those considered to be leaders of the church, and shared with them the message I had been preaching to the Gentiles.

Stacie Wood: I wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing. And they supported me and did not even demand that my companion Titus be circumcised, though he was a Gentile. Even that question came up only because of some so called believers there, false ones really, who were secretly brought in.

Stacie Wood: They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to [00:09:00] follow their Jewish regulations. But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. We wanted to preserve the truth of the gospel message for you. And the leaders of the church had nothing to add to what I was preaching.

Stacie Wood: By the way, their reputation as great leaders made no difference to me, for God has no favorites. Instead, they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews. For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews, also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles.

Stacie Wood: In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church, recognized the gift God had given me, and they accepted Barnabas and me as their co workers. [00:10:00] They encouraged us to keep preaching to the Gentiles while they continued their work with the Jews. Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do.

Stacie Wood: But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision.

Stacie Wood: As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter's hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, since [00:11:00] you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile.

Stacie Wood: Why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions? You and I are Jews by birth, not sinners like the Gentiles. Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law.

Stacie Wood: For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law. But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ, and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not. Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I [00:12:00] already tore down.

Stacie Wood: For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me, so I died to the law. I stopped trying to meet all its requirements, so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Stacie Wood: I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. Oh, foolish Galatians, who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ's death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross.

Stacie Wood: Let me ask you this one question. Did you receive the Holy Spirit [00:13:00] by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not. You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?

Stacie Wood: Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? I ask you again. Does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not. It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. In the same way, Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.

Stacie Wood: The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. What's more, the scriptures looked forward to this time when God would [00:14:00] make the Gentiles right in his sight because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, All nations will be blessed through you.

Stacie Wood: So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith. But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse. For the scriptures say, Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God's book of the law.

Stacie Wood: So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law, for the scriptures say it is through faith that a righteous person has life. This way of faith is very different from the way of law which says it is through obeying the law that a person has life. But [00:15:00] Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law.

Stacie Wood: When He was hung on the cross, He took upon Himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the scriptures, Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree through Christ Jesus. God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing He promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.

Stacie Wood: Dear brothers and sisters, here's an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, So it is in this case, God gave the promises to Abraham and his child, and notice that the scripture doesn't say to his children, as if it meant many descendants, rather it says to his child, and that of course means [00:16:00] Christ.

Stacie Wood: This is what I am trying to say. The agreement God made with Abraham could not be cancelled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God's promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise.

Stacie Wood: Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement.

Stacie Wood: But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when he gave his promise to [00:17:00] Abraham. Is there a conflict, then, between God's law and God's promises? Absolutely not. If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin. So we receive God's promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.

Stacie Wood: Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came. It protected us until we could be made right with God through faith.

Stacie Wood: And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. [00:18:00] And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free. male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Stacie Wood: And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you. Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, Those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up. Even though they actually own everything their father had.

Stacie Wood: They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set. And that's the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children. We were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world. [00:19:00] But when the right time came God sent his son, born of a woman, subject to the law.

Stacie Wood: God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the spirit of his son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, Abba! Father, now you are no longer a slave, but God's own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

Stacie Wood: Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so called gods that do not even exist. So now that you know God, Or should I say, now that God knows you, why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? You are trying to earn favor with [00:20:00] God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years.

Stacie Wood: I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing. Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles, free from those laws. You did not mistreat me when I first preached to you. Surely you remember that I was sick when I first brought you the good news.

Stacie Wood: But even though my condition tempted you to reject me, you did not despise me or turn me away. No, you took me in and cared for me as though I were an angel from God or even Christ Jesus himself. Where is that joyful and grateful spirit you felt then? I am sure you would have taken out your own eyes and given them to me if it had been possible.

Stacie Wood: Have [00:21:00] I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth? Those false teachers are so eager to win your favor, but their intentions are not good. They are trying to shut you off from me so that you will pay attention only to them. If someone is eager to do good things for you, that's alright. But let them do it all the time, not just when I'm with you.

Stacie Wood: Oh, my dear children. I feel as if I'm going through labor pains for you again. And they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives. I wish I were with you right now so I could change my tone. But at this distance, I don't know how else to help you. Tell me, you who want to live under the law, do you know what the law actually says?

Stacie Wood: The scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave wife [00:22:00] and one from his freeborn wife. The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God's promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God's own fulfillment of his promise. These two women serve as an illustration of God's two covenants.

Stacie Wood: The first woman, Hagar, represents Mount Sinai where people received the law that enslaved them. And now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia, because she and her children live in slavery to the law. But the other woman, Sarah, represents the heavenly Jerusalem. She is the free woman, and she is our mother.

Stacie Wood: As Isaiah said, Rejoice, O childless woman. You who have never given birth, break into a joyful shout. You who have never been in labor, [00:23:00] for the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband. And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born of human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit.

Stacie Wood: But what do the Scriptures say about that? Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman's son. So dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman. We are children of the free woman, so Christ has truly set us free.

Stacie Wood: Now make sure that you stay free and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law. Listen, I, Paul, tell you this. If you are counting [00:24:00] on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I'll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses.

Stacie Wood: For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ. You have fallen away from God's grace, but we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised.

Stacie Wood: What is important is faith expressing itself in love. You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn't God, for He is the one who called you to [00:25:00] freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough. I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings.

Stacie Wood: God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. Dear brothers and sisters, If I were still preaching that you must be circumcised, as some say I do, Why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.

Stacie Wood: For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy yourself. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command. [00:26:00] Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you are always biding and devouring one another, Watch out.

Stacie Wood: Beware of destroying one another. So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.

Stacie Wood: These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear. Sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, [00:27:00] hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy.

Stacie Wood: Drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives. Love. Joy. Peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

Stacie Wood: There is no law against these things. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our [00:28:00] lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

Stacie Wood: Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other's burdens. And in this way, Obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself.

Stacie Wood: You are not that important. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else, for we are each responsible for our own conduct. Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them.

Stacie Wood: Don't [00:29:00] be misled. You cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let's not get tired of doing what is good.

Stacie Wood: At just the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to those in the family of faith. Notice what large letters I use as I write these closing words in my own handwriting. Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised want to look good to others.

Stacie Wood: They don't want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can [00:30:00] save. And even those who advocate circumcision don't keep the whole law themselves. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast about it and claim you as their disciples. As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Stacie Wood: Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world's interest in me has also died. It doesn't matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God's peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle.

Stacie Wood: They are the new people of God. From now on, don't let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus. [00:31:00] Dear brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Rick Warren: This concludes

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