Summary: Drawing lessons from and parallels with the Holocaust this message confronts major hinderances to evangelism in America. A video clip from "Schindler’s List" is used at the end to raise awareness of the value of a soul snatched from the jaws of hell. Poss
The Eternal Holocaust
This morning at the end of our message we are going to see a brief clip from the Spielberg movie, Schindler’s List. The movie is about a German factory owner in Poland who saved the lives of over 1100 Jews during the holocaust. The holocaust during World War II cost the lives of 6 million Jews and 5 million Gentiles by extermination.
When I read about the holocaust one question stands paramount in my mind. How could such a thing happen? Why didn’t the general population rise up and stop it? In my research of the Holocaust four major reasons stand out:
1. Prevalence of anti-Semitic thinking.
2. Fear of reprisals.
3. People didn’t want to get involved in the problems of others.
4. Some governments did not believe the Holocaust was occurring.
Those are the 4 main reasons that people did not take action to stop the Holocaust.
This morning I want to talk about an even greater holocaust than that. I hope no one would ever get the idea that I would minimize in any way the horror of the merciless, senseless death of those 11 million people. God forbid that we would ever ignore such an atrocity. God forbid that we would fail to learn from the lessons of that history.
But I do submit to you that there is something going on in our world even more horrific than that great tragedy. This year 50 million people will slip into an eternal holocaust.
Their suffering in hell will go on forever and ever. There will be no escape. There will be absolutely no hope of a better day. The sorrow of one lost sinner is a heart-breaking reality. But its not a pleasant thought to realize that 50 million a year, 1/5 of America’s population will experience a personal holocaust worse than death—And I might add, needlessly so. For the price of their escape has already been paid.
It is not my purpose to put us all on a guilt trip. That would be easy enough to do. But my purpose is first to raise our awareness of reality—for some unexplainable reason that reality easily evades us at an emotional level. We may embrace the cold doctrinal truth of heaven, hell, and eternity. But those truths somehow get veiled by the urgencies of daily life.
Could it be that those four reasons (given for why people did not take action to stop the Jewish Holocaust) are the same reasons (in principle) that the church as a whole is relatively passive in its evangelism? Let me restate the reasons using broader terms and concepts.
1. The acceptance either actively or passively of anti-Semitic thinking. We know that kind of racial prejudice is insane. One race is not superior to another race. Our wonderful Creator has granted to individuals, families, and even nations a variety of blessings and abilities. No two individuals are exactly alike. No two nationalities are exactly alike. But one is not better than another. If we are to say anything about the Jewish race, we Gentiles should be saying, “Thank you for receiving the oracles of God and being an instrument of God to pass them on to us.”
What is interesting to me concerning worldview is how susceptible to social pressure the average person is. What mindset, what worldviews prevail in our society that hold down the propagation of the gospel? I would suggest that at least one factor is religious pluralism and humanistic tolerance. As unbiblical as it is, the idea that each person can just choose his own religion and somehow if he’s not a Hitler, if he or she is just a pretty good person, heaven is probable for that person. And it’s not nice to say anything contrary to that. We live in a society that rejects all absolute values except the absolute value of tolerance.
I’m not suggesting for a moment that we should be unkind or even disrespectful to people who hold religious views different than our own. One key to reaching people is to respect them as a fellow human being with the God-given right of free will. But we cannot, we must not, allow the prevailing sentiment of our culture to keep us from speaking the truth in love. I honestly do not see any way to heaven except through faith in God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. There is salvation in no other name. I know that is not a politically correct statement these days. Just as in Germany during World War II it would not have been politically correct to say that the Jewish race is in no way inferior to the Aryan race.
We have to decide whether we will allow the prevailing sentiment to dominate our mindset or whether the revelation of truth in God’s word will shape our thinking.