The closer Jesus drew to the conclusion of His magnificent Sermon on the Mount, the greater His intensity. By the time He got to the passage in this lesson, it was clear He was not mildly suggesting we simply resolve to try a little harder and do a little better. He pressed for absolute, radical transformation of our inner convictions and external lifestyle. He aimed for His followers to go far beyond the formal piety of superficial religion. Remember His words in Matthew 5:20? Our righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees! Such a lofty ideal calls for some terribly unpopular decisions, each of which has a more pleasant and appealing counterpoint that could be chosen instead. Interestingly, Jesus concluded His sermon with four sets of paired alternatives: two paths, two trees, two claims, and two foundations. In this lesson, we will consider the first three choices to be made. Jesus’s teaching may be unpopular, but it is essential.
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