The Present Challenge – By Russell V. DeLong

Chapter 2

Eight Standards For True Religion

“What shall I do with Jesus?” (Matthew 27:22).

One who reads widely and studies extensively is confronted by many baffling problems and faced with a variety of interesting questions. The most important question that has ever come to any individual is composed of only six words which form the text of this message: “What shall I do with Jesus?” These words came from the perplexed Pilate. They were addressed to a mob of frenzied, angry, crucifixion-determined Jews.

This question is of supreme importance. It is universal. It comes to everyone. It cannot be evaded. It is a question upon which one cannot be neutral. You must do something about it. To do nothing is to reject, to turn down, to repudiate Christ. He stands before you today. You must choose.

For the sake of brevity and clearness I shall divide my sermon into three parts, all based on the question of the text.

I. What shall I do with Jesus?

II. What shall I do without Him?

Ill. What will He do with me?

These are three very personal, very important, and very pertinent questions. Let us look at the first one.

I. What Shall I Do with Jesus?

What shall I do with His personality? To think of His personality inspires awe and amazement and should result in profound reverence. He transcends every other man who ever lived. He confronts the entire human race, revolutionizes its thinking, changes its ideals, and affects its conduct. What shall I do with His personality?

What shall I do with His character? I might ask you, “What do you think of Winston

Churchill?” or “What do you think of the late Franklin D. Roosevelt?” or Joseph Stalin? or Harry S. Truman? Your answer would in no sense reveal your character. But — when I ask; “What do you think of Christ?” your answer will reveal your character. This is true of no other man that has ever lived.

What shall I do with His words? He says, “Come, take up thy cross and follow me.” This command comes ringing down over the centuries. It confronts all of us. Come always means leave. Leave your old life, leave your old ideals, leave your old companions. Come — take up thy cross– follow me.

What shall I do with His words, “Ye must be born again”? These were uttered to a moral man. But morality is not enough. Your innermost nature must be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, making you a new creature in Christ.

What shall I do with His words, “Tarry ye at Jerusalem — until ye receive the Holy Spirit”? This command was given to Christians — followers of Christ. He commanded it. It must be important. It was His last command — in fact these were His last words on earth — they must have been of great significance.

What shall I do with His words concerning the Ten Virgins? Concerning the Judgment?

Concerning Hell? Shall I heed these warnings and be wise or shall I ignore them and be lost?

What shall I do with His sacrifice? Jesus came, suffered, and died. He was rebuffed, reviled, spat upon, and jeered at They placed a cruel crown of thorns upon His holy brow and a heavy cross upon His shoulders and at the point of spears they forced Him up Golgotha’s brow. At the summit they laid Him upon the cross and drove spikes through His hands and His feet, then raised the cross and dropped it into a hole while He sagged there in excruciating agony and pain. Not only was He suffering this unbearable physical pain, but upon him rested the sins of the world — your sins and mine. What shall I do with His sacrifice?

There are just two things you can do. Thank God, you can say, “O Thou Christ of Calvary, I accept Thee. Let Thy blood be applied to my heart. I accept Thy salvation.” Or else, you can reject His sacrifice and wade through His shed blood. As far as you are concerned it is just as though Jesus had never come. An ingrate — unthankful for this great act of atonement. What shall I do with His sacrifice?

Let us turn to the second question.

II. What Shall I Do Without Him?

This is an important consideration. What shall I do without Him in sorrow?

One of the common shrines of man is sorrow. Every human being sooner or later bows here. It makes no difference whether you are wealthy or poor, educated or illiterate, great or small, a king or a peasant — sorrow comes unbidden. The sun may be shining today and the birds may be singing, but tomorrow the lights will all go out and then in your darkness you will need someone. Is there one? “Yes, there’s one, only one, the blessed, blessed Jesus, He’s the one.” You’ll need Him.

What shall I do without Him in trouble? Trouble is another common shrine of man. You can’t escape it. It comes to everyone. One day you may have to sing with the old Negro, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, nobody knows but Jesus.” Thank God, He does know. In your hour of trouble you will need Him.

What shall I do without Him at the Judgment? One day, in the not too far distant future, you will stand before the Judge of the Universe to give an account of your life. You will need Christ then.

In concluding this message, let us look at the final question for a moment.

III. What Will He Do with Me?

This, too, is a very important question. Let us divide it. What will He do with me now? and, what will He do with me then?

What will He do with me now? He’ll forgive my sins. This sounds trite. We have heard it from youth up. We have known hymns written about it. We have heard countless sermons preached about it. It is old and, I fear, a bit empty and meaningless to many. But — it is still the greatest news that has ever come to the human race. I wish I could pour into that statement all the power of my personality until it could take on new meaning, renewed freshness to invigorate your mind and soul until you would see and feel its power. What a pronouncement! The greatest news story of all time. Talk about your ten greatest news stories of 1945, here is the greatest of all the centuries. It is the Number One Highlight of history. The angel spoke to frightened shepherds, “Fear ye not. I bring you tidings of great joy. For unto you is born this day — a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.” Oh, what a message! Is it stale? Let it become fresh! Is it old? Let it become new! Is it distant? Let it become present! Is it a generality? Let it become personal! — this very moment. He can forgive my sin.

He’ll make life worth while. A young woman twenty-three years of age committed suicide recently in a New York hotel. She left a note behind saying, “I’ve had every thrill a human being can experience and life isn’t worth the living.” Life for her was groveling in the mud and mire of sensual, physical living. It had no meaning. Why live? Many are asking this question.

Without Christ — life has no meaning; life has no purpose. Without Christ — life is sensuality; life is physical; life ends in the grave; life offers no future. Without Christ life is empty, disillusioning, disappointing, discouraging, tragic, selfish, and meaningless.

But with Christ — life takes on color! With Christ — life takes on meaning! With Christ — life takes on purpose! With Christ — life is full, radiant, dynamic, meaningful, and happy.

Christ offers something worth living for and worth dying for. He gives unity and objectivity to life and finally offers hope beyond the grave. Amidst battles, sorrows, trials, difficulties, reverses, disappointments, betrayals, and sufferings He’ll see you through.

Let us look at the final question for just a moment — What will He do with me Then?

We shall all appear before the judgment bar of God. It will be the climax of our existence. It will settle our eternal destiny. What will He do with me then?

It all depends on what I do with Him now. If I have confessed Him now He will confess that He knows me then. When I stand fearfully before God, Jesus will say, “I know him. He is one of mine.” He will confess me. But if I deny Him now He will deny me then (II Timothy 2:12).

The inescapable Christ stands before us. The question is now yours to answer, “What shall I do with Jesus?” Obey Him. Accept Him. Open wide the door of your heart just now. Say with Charlotte Elliott,

Just as I am without one plea

But that Thy blood was shed for me;

And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee

Oh Lamb of God, I come — I come.

Do you come? He’ll meet you just now.