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In our first of several sermons on the clash between the Pharisees and Jesus, Matthew 12 shows us the god and idol of the religious, the heart of the religious, and the attitudes and actions of the religious.  Religion here means the opposite of grace — salvation through works.  The religious, from evil hearts, worship Satan as their god using the idol of rules.  As a result it is no surprise that their actions (especially their words) and attitudes are evil.  They look for a way to accuse Jesus, they are judgmental, compare themselves to others defensively, and defensively assert their own righteousness instead of resting in Christ’s righteousness.  The religious way to avoid Jesus is to attempt to avoid sin.  But the only way of salvation is Jesus Christ.

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