before the sun goes down

"Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in His sight" (I Chronicles 19:13).

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hitler, the Holocaust, and Honor

It was a CRITICAL MOMENT in History...

Place and Time: Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II
Problem: Holocaust of the Jewish People
Players: the church of Jesus Christ

A train with box cars filled to the gills with men, women, and children of Jewish descent was headed for the "camps".  Many such trains rode the rails to the horrific places of suffering, cruelty and death.  This train snaked its way through cities, villages, and the empty countryside toward its dark destination.  As the engine pulled its crowded cattle cars through yet another town, the passengers, looking through the slats, spied a church building ahead, not far from the tracks.  A worship service was in session, and they could hear the sound of hymns being sung.  The Jews in the train lifted up their voices and began to scream for help, for rescue, for aid.  The members inside heard their desperate cries, but instead of rushing to see what they could do, they turned up the volume of the pipe organ and sang louder to drown out the disturbing sound of the needy people heading to destruction. 

Singing a little louder, they did nothing, and GREAT SHAME is on those Christians in Germany and Europe who let the Holocaust happen without opposition and intervention. 
At that critical moment, so much of those in Nazi controlled Europe did nothing.  God was not glorified by their praises, when they chose to be silent about the slaughter around them. In choosing to remain comfortable they dishonored their Savior's Name! So in the day of battle the people of God in large part failed to obey.  Failed to do what Jesus would do.  Failed to stand for righteousness when truth was fallen in the street.  Failed to be the church in a culture that pursued the death of the innocents.  What a shame and reproach!

BUT NOT ALL in that day failed.

Nicholas Winton, a young British man in his twenties, rescued 669 Jewish children destined for death camps from the Nazis, and arranged for them to have homes, smuggling them to Great Britain.

Irena Sendlerowa, a young Polish woman, secretly saved over 2,000 little Jewish children from the Ghettos and sure death through sewers, in suitcases, and boxes. 

Casper Ten Boom, a Christian grandfather from the Netherlands and his family, rescued many Jews, making their home into a refuge and "hiding place" for the hunted.  The Ten Boom family risked both life and liberty to "obey God rather than man" and deliver those that were "drawn unto death".  

Just reading snippets of what these three people (and others, Sophie Scholl, Peter ten Boom, etc.) did in their day can stir the reader with esteem, and we nod our heads in agreement.  They did right. They were people of honor! The organ volume raisers did wrong.  And I'm sure that we think that if we had lived in such a day, we are certain we would have been in the hero class, who would have done courageously as well.
At least we hope so.

But let us really consider that question.  Get out the mirror.  What if YOU lived during the Holocaust?  In Nazi occupied Europe?  Would YOU be like the Ten Boom family?  Or the church organ "boomers".

What if YOU knew of a Nazi death camp only an hour away from YOUR home?  Would YOU go, at the peril of YOUR life, and try to rescue Jews being taken to that camp?  Perhaps you think, "Of course!" or maybe "I hope I would."

You know, Christians back then probably had excuses.  I mean if caught, they could be killed or imprisoned!  The Nazi regime was brutal.  And so they let others be slaughtered instead.  We still shake our heads in disapproval at their inaction, but we understand their fear.

BUT WHAT IF Nazi Germany's rules had been different?  What if they recognized and respected a citizen's right of "freedom of speech"?  What if they were allowed to say they didn't agree, and did not have to fear the Nazi's vengeance?  No death.  No prison.  No fine. They could speak out against it with immunity.  That would remove the excuses, right?  We would be even more adamant that they should have not been silent as millions were slain! Even more shame would fall on the heads of those who neglected their duty.

Let's go back to YOU in Nazi Germany, and the death camp an hour away.  

What if YOU were allowed to stand at the barbed war fence and call out for the lives of the Jews, even as they were being escorted to the gas chambers?

What if each guard had the freedom to choose to release the Jew he was leading, if YOU persuaded him that it was wrong for the Jew to be slain?

And even if they didn't listen, at least YOU had done the right thing, and before God would be clean of the guilt of the blood of the innocent. 

Would YOU go?  Would YOU take time out of YOUR busy schedule, of work time, leisure time, etc., to speak for their lives?  How often would YOU go?

That even one life could be saved?  
That the name of Jesus would be exalted, rather than cast in the dirt because His people didn't care enough lift their voice to speak truth in a generation that loved lies.

We may shake our heads at the inaction and apathy of those believers during the Holocaust of the Jews, But WHAT ABOUT TODAY?  What about the Holocaust of unborn babies IN OUR GENERATION?  Hitler slew about 6,000,000 Jews.  The United States alone has slain over 55,000,000 million.  We passed Hitler's count years ago!  So what are churches in America doing about the slaughter in their midst?  What are YOU doing right now?  

Suddenly exYOUses arise!  If we speak out against the murder of babies are we in danger of imprisonment?  Not yet.  Fines?  Not yet.  Death?  Not yet.  Our excuses are that "We are too busy."  "It is inconvenient."  "Someone may laugh at us."  "It won't change anything."  Face it!  We are apathetic and our excuses are pathetic!  We are filled with a depraved indifference.  We have LESS excuse than the German Christians.  And thus MORE shame is on us if we be silent.

Consider the following 4 verses:

Proverbs 31:8-9 "Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy."

Proverbs 24:11-12 "If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew ut not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it, and he that keepeth thy soul doth not he know it?and shall not he render to every man according to his works?"

These are commands from our God and King, He who saved us and bought us with His blood, and Whose we are.  It is a commission to the people of God.

In the Kansas City Area there are thousands of churches, hundreds of which are Gospel preaching, Bible believing.  There are 2 places that exist to murder babies.  Yet, when the doors are open for people to bring their babies to be butchered, WHERE IS THE CHURCH? Why are they not present?  Why are they not at the gates of death, preaching the Gospel, pleading the cause for those who cannot speak for themselves, and providing truth and help for parents and children in this critical time?   

One survey I read is that only 2% of professing Bible believing Christians in this country witness of the Gospel regularly.  That is a lousy number.  I have never heard a survey about Christian activity at abortion mills, but fear that the percentage of Bible believing Christians in the United States who have stood for life outside a baby "death camp" even one time is even lower.  

Where are YOU, Christian?  Why are YOU not at the gates of death?  Will YOU repent, and obey YOUR Father in heaven?

I Corinthians 15:34 "Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame."

Francis Schaeffer said that "Abortion exists by permission of the church."  I believe that if even only 1% of the church membership of Christian churches in the Kansas City area did their duty and stood outside of the two abortion mills in Johnson County, abortion would end in our city.  If churches in this country actually repented and acted as the church should in a culture that kills its children, abortion would be abolished from our land.  And Jesus Christ would be glorified.  What will future Christians say of YOUR generation?  What will they think of YOUR response to the Preborn Holocaust, this critical moment in history?  And more importantly, what will YOUR Saviour say when YOU stand before Him, and this issue, so dear to the heart of God, is raised?  

To speak for the innocent is not merely an obligation.  It is an honor!

There is still time to win battle before the sun goes down.

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