God's people are about to enter the Promised Land in Deuteronomy. Somewhat presciently, God can imagine that there will be a lot of distractions facing God's people. Of course, God has already seen them get distracted by other worldly distractions and powers. Remember that whole golden calf incident? Yeah, so does God.
God lays it out for them: there are two paths; one to that is faithful to God that leads to life, and one that is faithful to the world that leads to death. This is simply an ultimatum, not really much of a choice. The threat to them is quite explicit. If you pursue worldly powers and think you're improving your life, you're kidding yourself. It will bring the misery and pain of "curses" and death. On the other hand, pursue a devoted faith in the one God who brought you to this point, you will discover blessings and life. Like I said, it really isn't much of a choice.
Jesus is similarly stark in his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. His audience is similarly rather self-assured about their relationship with God and the way they live their lives. Jesus continues to flip the script on their sense of righteousness as he has previously in Matthew's Sermon.
Whe Jesus starts talking about plucking your eye out or chopping your hand off, he's using 'shock talk' to wake up his listeners to the extraordinary expectations of faithful living for the Kingdom. Living a life of genuine faith in God means making radical choices compared to what they've been used to. He lays it all out for them.
Discover what Jesus means with his harsh teachings here by checking out the sermon video below, and note the downloads below the video panel.
(I've also added the video for Carolyn's ordination and Ryan's installation below - keep scrolling)