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 10
Rick Warren: [00:00:00] Welcome to Immersed Messiah, reading for week two, day 10.
Andy Wood: Immersed in First Thessalonians, the new believers in Thessalonica. A city in the northern part of Greece needed both encouragement and guidance. Paul had brought them the good news about Jesus, and they had joyfully embraced it. This is described in the book of Acts. But there were critical gaps in their understanding of what it meant to follow Jesus.
Andy Wood: Some of the Thessalonians had stopped working for a living, probably based on the assumption that Jesus would return soon. Others were despondent because they were afraid that loved ones who had died before Jesus return had missed their share in the kingdom. Still others were anxious about all the details related to when and how Jesus would come back.
Andy Wood: The believers also hadn't made a complete transition to their new way of living in Christ. Some in the community [00:01:00] still indulged in sexual immorality and even adultery, and some were undermining Paul's authority by questioning his motives. Along with this, the Thessalonian believers were facing renewed persecution, tempting some to fall away from their faith.
Andy Wood: The Thessalonian community still needed the teaching and leadership of someone like Paul, but he was no longer with them. As described in Acts, the Jewish leaders in Thessalonica reacted angrily when Paul brought the good news about Jesus to the Gentiles. They set events in motion that jeopardized the safety of Paul and Silas, making it impossible for them to stay in the city.
Andy Wood: Paul later sent his co worker Timothy to find out how the believers were doing and to report back to him. It may have turned out for the best that Paul was forced to move on from Thessalonica and from other cities too. The kind of opposition he faced in those cities forced him to find a new way to guide the communities he had started.
Andy Wood: Since he couldn't remain with them in person, he developed a [00:02:00] pattern of teaching them through letters and messengers. Even as he started new communities of Jesus followers elsewhere, these letters were later gathered together and became a major portion of the New Testament. They have given God's people through the centuries an essential window for viewing and understanding the message and meaning of early Christianity.
Andy Wood: Letters in Paul's day had a common form, typically consisting of three parts, an opening, a main body, and a closing. In the opening, writers would give their name, identify whom they were writing to, and offer a good wish or prayer for the recipients, expressing gratitude for the relationship. In the main body, they would introduce and deal with various items of business.
Andy Wood: In the closing, they would often name and vouch for the person delivering the letter, who would likely read it aloud to the recipients. Then the writers would extend personal greetings, and pass along greetings from others. They might also say when they hoped to see the recipients [00:03:00] next, and then they end with a final good wish.
Andy Wood: Paul makes masterful use of this ancient letter writing form. He often uses the standard opening and closing elements to summarize the letter's main themes. This first letter to the Thessalonian believers, the earliest letter we have from Paul, provides the guidance and support they will need to continue following Jesus with maturity and courage.
Andy Wood: With his opening words, Paul rejoices in their eager reception of the good news and acknowledges the suffering they are experiencing because of their faith in Jesus. Then, just before his final greetings, he efficiently summarizes his responses to the challenges that Thessalonian believers are facing.
Andy Wood: He tells them to work hard, live peacefully, and care well for others. In the midst of this letter, Paul focuses on the great vision of Jesus glorious return as king and our great hope of the resurrection of the dead. This vision [00:04:00] and hope will sustain the Thessalonians as they seek to live renewed lives that are pleasing to God.
Rick Warren: The First Letter to the Thessalonians This letter is from Paul, Silas, and Timothy. We are writing to the church in Thessalonica. To you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May God give you grace and peace. We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rick Warren: We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people. [00:05:00] For when we brought you the good news, It was not only with words, but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you.
Rick Warren: So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit, in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord. As a result, You have become an example to all the believers in Greece throughout both Macedonia and Achaia. And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia.
Rick Warren: For wherever we go, we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don't need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living [00:06:00] and true God. And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God's Son from heaven, Jesus, whom God raised from the dead.
Rick Warren: He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment. You yourselves know, dear brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not a failure. You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi, just before we came to you, and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his good news to you boldly, in spite of great opposition.
Rick Warren: So you can see we were not preaching with any deceit or impure motives or trickery. For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the good news. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. Never once did we try to [00:07:00] win you with flattery, as you well know.
Rick Warren: And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money. As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else. As Apostles of Christ, we certainly had a right to make some demands of you, but instead we were like children among you, or we were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children.
Rick Warren: We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God's good news, but our own lives too. Don't you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God's good news to you. You yourselves are our witnesses, and so is God, that we were devout and honest and faultless toward all of you believers.
Rick Warren: And you know that we treated each of [00:08:00] you as a father treats his own children. We plead it with you. Encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his kingdom and glory. Therefore, we never stopped thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn't think of our words as mere human ideas.
Rick Warren: You accepted what we said as the very word of God, which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe. And then, dear brothers and sisters, You suffered persecution from your own countrymen. In this way, you imitated the believers in God's churches in Judea, who, because of their belief in Christ Jesus, suffered from their own people, the Jews.
Rick Warren: For some of the Jews killed the prophets, and some even killed the Lord Jesus. Now, they have persecuted us, too. [00:09:00] They fail to please God and work against all humanity as they try to keep us from preaching the good news of salvation to the Gentiles. By doing this, they continue to pile up their sins, but the anger of God has caught up with them at last.
Rick Warren: Dear brothers and sisters, after we were separated from you for a little while, Though our hearts never left you, we tried very hard to come back because of our intense longing to see you again. We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us. After all, what gives us hope and joy?
Rick Warren: And what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you. Yes, you are our pride and joy. Finally, when we could stand it no longer, [00:10:00] we decided to stay alone in Athens, and we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God's co worker in proclaiming the good news of Christ.
Rick Warren: We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles. Even while we were with you, We warned you that troubles would soon come, and they did, as you well know. That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong.
Rick Warren: I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you, and that our work had been useless. But now Timothy has just returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. He reports that you always remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you. So we have been greatly encouraged in the [00:11:00] midst of our troubles and suffering.
Rick Warren: Dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith, it gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How we thank God for you. Because of you, we have great joy as we enter God's presence. Night and day, we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith.
Rick Warren: May God, our Father, and our Lord Jesus bring us to you very soon. And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. May He, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God, our Father, when our Lord Jesus comes again with all His holy people.
Rick Warren: Amen. [00:12:00] Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. God's will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.
Rick Warren: Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife. For the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.
Rick Warren: Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching. But is rejecting God who gives his Holy [00:13:00] Spirit to you. But we don't need to write to you about the importance of loving each other for God himself has taught you to love one another. Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia.
Rick Warren: Even so dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more. Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.
Rick Warren: And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died, so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, We also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the [00:14:00] believers who have died.
Rick Warren: We tell you this directly from the Lord. We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves.
Rick Warren: Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don't really need to write you, for you know quite well that the day of the Lord's return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.
Rick Warren: When people are saying, everything is peaceful and secure, [00:15:00] then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman's labor pains begin. And there will be no escape. But you aren't in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters. And you won't be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief.
Rick Warren: For you are all children of the light and of the day. We don't belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard. Not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clear headed. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clear headed, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.
Rick Warren: For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out His anger on us. Christ died for us so that whether we are dead or alive when He returns, we can live with Him forever. So [00:16:00] encourage each other and build each other up just as you are already doing. Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord's work.
Rick Warren: They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work, and live peacefully with each other. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy, encourage those who are timid, take tender care of those who are weak, be patient with everyone.
Rick Warren: See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is [00:17:00] said.
Rick Warren: Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. Now, may the God of peace make you holy in every way and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless Until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen. For He who calls you is faithful. Dear brothers and sisters.
Rick Warren: Pray for us. Greet all the brothers and sisters with a sacred kiss. I command you in the name of the Lord to read this letter to all the brothers and sisters. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Immersed[00:18:00]
Andy Wood: in Second Thessalonians. Even though Paul had already written one letter to the new believers in Thessalonica, they still needed more guidance and encouragement. Someone claiming to be Paul had apparently also written to them, telling them something entirely different. One of the Thessalonians main concerns had been about when Jesus would return to earth, to initiate God's rule in its fullness.
Andy Wood: Paul had explained in his earlier letter that the exact time of Jesus return could not be predicted. He encouraged the believers to live in such a way that Jesus would be honored by their lives no matter when he came. But the false letter they had received said that the day of the Lord, understood to refer to God's decisive victory over his enemies, had already begun.
Andy Wood: These false teachers claimed to have received visions and revelations confirming it. This was making the Thessalonians question what Paul had [00:19:00] told them in person and in his first letter. So Paul wrote again, and since letters were usually dictated to a scribe, he now authenticated his letter with a personal signature at the end.
Andy Wood: This letter, now known as Second Thessalonians, addressed these new concerns and reasserted some of Paul's earlier teachings. Paul explains that Jesus will not return until a figure called the Man of Lawlessness appears. This person will be the culmination of evil on earth. He will deceive the world into worshiping him as God and violently suppress the worship of anyone else.
Andy Wood: His arrival will be the climax of the struggle between good and evil, at which point Jesus will return to defeat the man of lawlessness and establish God's kingdom. Paul then confirms what he said before. Exactly how and when this will happen is unknown. The important thing is to live well for God now, facing suffering and persecution with [00:20:00] endurance and with hope in Christ's return.
Andy Wood: Finally, Paul again observes that some in their community were still refusing to work to earn a living. Apparently, they had become even bolder in this idle way of life, possibly in the wake of the visions and the false letter, claiming that the time of the Lord's return had already begun. So Paul is forced to oppose them even more strongly in this second letter.
Andy Wood: He tells the community of believers to stay away from those who won't work, urging them to correct those who are idle the way they would a brother or sister.
Rick Warren: This letter is from Paul, Silas, and Timothy. We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ [00:21:00] give you grace and peace. Dear brothers and sisters, we can't help but thank God for you. Because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.
Rick Warren: We proudly tell God's other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his kingdom for which you are suffering and his justice. He will pay back those who persecute you, and God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven.
Rick Warren: He will come with his mighty angels in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don't know God and on those who refuse to obey the good news of our Lord Jesus. They will be [00:22:00] punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord. and from His glorious power. When He comes on that day, He will receive glory from His holy people, praise from all who believe.
Rick Warren: And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about Him. So we keep on praying for you. Asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live.
Rick Warren: And you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ. Now, dear brothers and sisters, Let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and how we will be gathered to meet him. Don't be so [00:23:00] easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun.
Rick Warren: Don't believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision. A revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. Don't be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God, and the man of lawlessness is revealed. The one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call God in every object of worship.
Rick Warren: He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God. Don't you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the [00:24:00] way.
Rick Warren: Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed. But the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming. This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.
Rick Warren: So God will cause them to be greatly deceived. And they will believe these lies, then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth. As for us, we can't help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation.
Rick Warren: A salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your [00:25:00] belief in the truth. He called you to salvation when we told you the good news. Now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters. Stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching.
Rick Warren: We passed on to you both in person and by letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our father, who loved us, and by his grace, gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do. And say, finally, dear brothers and sisters, we ask you to pray for us, pray that the Lord's message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes.
Rick Warren: Just as when it came to you, pray too, that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people. For not everyone is a believer, but [00:26:00] the Lord is faithful. He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. And we are confident in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we commanded you.
Rick Warren: May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don't follow the tradition they received from us.
Rick Warren: For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard, day and night, so we would not be a burden to any of you. We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow.
Rick Warren: Even while we were [00:27:00] with you, We gave you this command. Those unwilling to work will not get to eat. Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people's business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.
Rick Warren: As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. Don't think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation.
Rick Warren: The Lord be with you all. Here is my greeting in my own handwriting. [00:28:00] Paul. I do this in all my letters. To prove they are from me. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Andy Wood: This concludes today's
Rick Warren: Immerse Reading Experience. Thank you for joining us.