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Lesson on the Wrong Phone Number

Many years ago, the Loop 287 church used brilliant technology for the time: a dial-a-Bible message. For a couple of weeks, the wrong phone number was published in our paper bulletin. We printed 639-7978, but the real number was 632-7978. Only one number was wrong. What is the big deal? Well, one number is right, the other is wrong. The first number connects to a phone in the hospital, while the latter connects to the Bible message.

This made us think about a common argument used to defend religious error in the denominations: “They get most of it right.” We got most of the phone number right, 6 out of seven digits. Still, it was wrong!

The Bible declares we must do things according to God’s will or we are condemned, even if only one thing is in error (Jas. 2:10). If we sing, pray, study and give in our first-day-of-the-week worship, but leave off the Lord’s supper, we are condemned (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2). If a man believes, repents and confesses Christ, but fails to be baptized, then he is still lost (Jn. 8:24; Acts 3:19; Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 2:38). Yes, one thing can condemn a soul or system of religion.

Those who are skeptical, let us ask, could Naaman the leper have dipped six times in the river Jordan and come out cleansed (2 Kgs. 5:1-14)? Would the walls of Jericho have come down if Israel marched around them six times on the seventh day (Josh. 6:1-5)? What would have happened if Noah made the ark 299 cubits long or put two windows in it (Gen. 6:15, 16)? Changing one small part of God’s commands would have left Naaman a leper, the walls of Jericho standing and sunk the ark.

A lesson can be learned by an innocent mistake. Telephone numbers are not terribly important, but the commands of God are. Let us give them the obedient respect they deserve.

Steven F. Deaton