Real Contact with Jesus You can have an exciting relationship of intimate communion with Christ! In this book Charles Spurgeon describes the nature of such true fellowship. He also discusses how you can obtain...
- Peace, rest, and joy
- Healing for your body
- Complete forgiveness of sins
- God’s fulfillment of your needs
- The assurance of your salvation
- The protection of God
- Total freedom from fear
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About the Author
Charles. H. Spurgeon (1834–1892), the “Prince of Preachers,” preached his first sermon at age sixteen. During his lifetime, he preached to an estimated ten million people. He founded and supported charitable outreaches, including educational institutions. He also founded a pastors’ college and the famous Stockwell Orphanage. Spurgeon published over two thousand of his sermons, as well as numerous books. Highlighted with splashes of spontaneous, delightful humor, his teachings still provide direction to all who are seeking true joy and genuine intimacy with God.
Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1 Mysterious Visits
Thou hast visited me in the night. -- Psalm 17:3
We ought to be amazed that the glorious God communicates with mankind, who are utterly sinful. "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" (Ps. 8:4). A divine visit is a joy to be treasured whenever we are favored with it. David spoke of it with great solemnity. The psalmist was not content simply to mention it. Rather, he wrote it down in plain terms, so that it might be known throughout all generations: "Thou hast visited me in the night." Beloved, if God has ever visited you, you also will marvel at it, will carry it in your memory, will speak of it to your friends, and will record it in your diary as one of the notable events of your life. Above all, you will speak of it to God Himself and say with adoring gratitude, "Thou hast visited me in the night." It should be a solemn part of worship to remember and make known the condescension of the Lord and to say, both in humble prayer and in joyful song, "Thou hast visited me." To you, my dear readers, I will write of my own experience, not doubting at all that it is also yours. If our God has ever personally visited any of us by His Spirit, two results have accompanied the visit: it has been sharply searching, and it has been sweetly comforting.
THE RESULTS OF GOD’S VISITS
Our Hearts Are Searched
When the Lord first draws near to the heart, the trembling soul perceives clearly the searching character of His visit. Remember how Job answered the Lord: "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5-6). We can read of God and hear of God and hardly be affected, but when we feel His presence, it is another matter. I thought my house was good enough for kings, but when the King of Kings came to it, I saw that it was quite unfit for Him. I never would have known that sin is so "exceeding sinful" (Rom. 7:13) if I had not known that God is so perfectly holy. I never would have understood the depravity of my own nature if I had not known the holiness of God’s nature. When we see Jesus, we fall "at his feet as dead" (Rev. 1:17). Until then, we are full of vanity and pride. If letters of light traced by a mysterious hand upon the wall caused Belshazzar’s knees to knock together and his legs to give way under him (Dan. 5:5-6), what awe overcomes our spirits when we see the Lord Himself! In the presence of so much light, our spots and wrinkles are revealed and we are utterly ashamed. We are like Daniel, who said, "I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption" (Dan. 10:8). It is when the Lord visits us that we see our nothingness and ask, "Lord, ‘what is man?’" (Ps. 8:4). I remember well when God first visited me. It was a night of natural tendencies, of ignorance, of sin. His visit had the same effect on me that it had on Saul of Tarsus when the Lord spoke to him out of heaven. He brought me down off my high horse and caused me to fall to the ground. By the brightness of the light of His Spirit, He made me grope in conscious blindness; and in the brokenness of my heart I cried, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). I felt that I had been rebelling against the Lord, kicking "against the pricks" (v. 5) and doing evil as much as I could, and my soul was filled with anguish at the discovery of this. The glance of the eye of Jesus was very searching, for it revealed my sin and caused me to go out and weep bitterly. As when the Lord visited Adam and called him to stand naked before Him, so was I stripped of all my righteousness before the face of the Most High. Yet the visit did not end there, for just as the Lord God clothed our first parents in coats of skins, He covered me with the righteousness of the Great Sacrifice and gave me songs in the night. It was night, but the visit was no dream. In fact, there and then I ceased to dream, and I began to deal with the reality of things. I think you will remember that, when the Lord first visited you in the night, it was with you as it was with Peter when Jesus came to him. He had been toiling with his net the whole night, and nothing had come of it. But, when the Lord Jesus came into Peter’s boat and told him to launch out into the deep and let down his net, he caught such a great multitude of fish that the boat began to sink. The boat went down, down, until the water threatened to engulf it along with Peter, the fish, and everything else. Then Peter fell down at Jesus’ knees and cried, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). The presence of Jesus was too much for him; his sense of unworthiness made him sink like his boat and shrink away from the divine Lord. I remember that sensation well. Indeed, I was half inclined to cry out, with the demoniac of Gadara, "What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God?" (Mark 5:7). My first discovery of Christ’s injured love was overpowering, and its very hopefulness increased my anguish, for then I saw that I had slain the Lord who had come to save me. I saw that mine was the hand that had made the hammer fall, the hand that had driven the nails which fastened the Redeemer’s hands and feet to the cruel tree. This is the sight that breeds repentance: "They shall look upon [Him] whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him" (Zech. 12:10). When the Lord visits us, He humbles us, removes all hardness from our hearts, and leads us to the Savior’s feet. When the Lord first visited us in the night, it was similar to the way in which John was visited by the Lord on the isle of Patmos. John described it in the following words: "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead" (Rev. 1:17). Yes, even when we begin to see that He has put away our sin and removed our guilt by His death, we feel as if we could never look up again, because we have been so cruel to our Best Friend. It is no wonder if we then say, "It is true that He has forgiven me, but I never can forgive myself. He makes me live, and I live in Him, but at the thought of His goodness I fall at His feet as dead. Boasting is dead, self is dead, and all desire for anything beyond my Lord is dead also." William Cowper poetically described this as:
That dear hour, that brought me to His foot, And cut up all my follies by the root.
The process of destroying follies is more hopefully performed at Jesus’ feet than anywhere else. Oh, that the Lord would come again to us as He did at first, and like a consuming fire discover and destroy the dross that now alloys our gold! The word visit may remind those who travel of the person who searches their baggage. It is in a similar way that the Lord seeks out our secret things. But the word also reminds us of the visits of the physician, who not only finds out our sicknesses, but also aids and cures them. In this way did the Lord Jesus visit us at first.
We Find Sweet Comfort
Since those early days, I hope that you have had many visits from our Lord. Those first visits were, as I said, sharply searching, but the later ones have been sweetly comforting. Some of us have had them especially in the night, when we have been compelled to count the sleepless hours. "Heaven’s gate opens when this world’s is shut," I have heard it said. The night is still, visitors have gone away, work is done, care is forgotten, and then the Lord Himself draws near. Possibly there may be pain to be endured; your head may be aching, and your heart may be throbbing. But if Jesus comes to visit you, your bed of languishing becomes a throne of glory. It is true that "he giveth his beloved sleep" (Ps. 127:2), yet at such times He gives them something better than sleep, namely, His own presence and the fullness of joy that comes with it (Ps. 16:11). At night, upon our beds, we have seen the unseen. Sometimes I have tried not to sleep while experiencing an excess of joy, when the company of Christ has been sweetly mine.
MANIFESTATIONS OF OUR LORD
"Thou hast visited me in the night." Believe me, there are such things as personal visits from Jesus to His people. He has not utterly left us. Though He may not be seen with our natural eyes near a bush or a running stream, nor on the mountain or by the sea, He still does come and go, observed only by our spirits, felt only by our hearts. He still stands behind our walls and shows Himself through the lattices (Song 2:9). How can I describe these manifestations of the Lord? It is difficult for me to give you a good idea of them if you do not already know them for yourselves. If you had never tasted sweetness, no one could give you an idea of honey by describing it to you. Yet, if the honey is right in front of you, you can "taste and see" (Ps. 34:8). To a man born blind, sight must be a thing beyond his imagination; and to one who has never known the Lord, His visits are quite as much beyond what that person can conceive of.
More than Assurance of Salvation
For our Lord to visit us is something more than for us to have the assurance of our salvation, although that is very delightful, and none of us would be satisfied unless we possessed it. To know that Jesus loves me is one thing, but to be visited by Him in love is much more. More than Picturing Christ
Nor is it simply a close contemplation of Christ, for we can picture Him as exceedingly fair and majestic and yet not have Him consciously near us. As delightful and instructive as it is to behold the likeness of Christ by meditation, the enjoyment of His actual presence is something more. I may wear my friend’s picture around my neck, and yet I may not be able to say, "Thou hast visited me."
The Real Presence of Christ
The actual, though spiritual, coming of Christ is what we so much desire. The Catholic church says much about the real presence, meaning the physical presence, of the Lord Jesus. The priest who celebrates mass tells us that he believes in the real presence, but we reply, "No, you believe in knowing Christ according to the flesh, and in that sense the only real presence of Jesus is in heaven. We, on the other hand, firmly believe in the real presence of Christ that is spiritual, and yet certain." By spiritual we do not mean unreal. In fact, the spiritual is what is most real to spiritual men. I believe in the true and real presence of Jesus with His people, for such a presence has been real to my spirit. Lord Jesus, You Yourself have visited me. As surely as Jesus came in the flesh to Bethlehem and Calvary, so surely does He come by His Spirit to His people in the hours of their communion with Him. We are as conscious of that presence as we are of our own existence.
THE EFFECTS OF CHRIST’S PRESENCE
When the Lord visits us in the night, what is the effect upon us? Our hearts meet His heart in a fellowship of love. Such communion first brings peace, then rest, and then joy in our souls. I am not writing of any emotional excitement that turns into fanatical rapture, but I mention a sober fact when I say that the Lord’s great heart touches ours, and our hearts rise into empathy with Him. First, we experience peace. All war is over, and a blessed peace is proclaimed; the peace of God keeps our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:7). At such a time there is a delightful sense of rest; we have no ambitions, no desires. A divine serenity and security envelop us. We have no thought of foes or fears, afflictions or doubts. There is a joyous laying aside of our own will. We are nothing, and we will nothing; Christ is everything, and His will is the pulse of our souls. We are perfectly content either to be ill or to be well, to be rich or to be poor, to be slandered or to be honored, so that we may simply abide in the love of Christ. Jesus fills the horizon of our beings. At such a time, a flood of great joy will fill our minds. We will half wish that the morning may never break again, for fear that its light might banish the superior light of Christ’s presence. We will wish that we could glide away with our Beloved to the place where He "feedeth among the lilies" (Song 2:16). We long to hear the voices of the white-robed armies (Rev. 7:9-10), so that we may follow their glorious Leader wherever He goes. I am convinced that there is no great distance between heaven and earth, that the distance lies in our finite minds. When the Beloved visits us in the night, He turns our chambers into the vestibules of His palace halls. Earth rises to heaven when heaven comes down to earth. GOD WILL VISIT YOU
Now, you may be saying to yourself, "I have not enjoyed such visits as these." Yet you may enjoy them. If the Father loves you even as He loves His Son, then you are on visiting terms with Him. Therefore, if He has not called on you, you will be wise to call on Him. Breathe a sigh to Him, and say,
When wilt Thou come unto me, Lord? Oh come, my Lord most dear! Come near, come nearer, nearer still, I’m blest when Thou art near.
"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God" (Ps. 42:1). If you long for Him, He much more longs for you. No sinner was ever half as eager for Christ as Christ is eager for the sinner; no saint was ever onetenth as anxious to behold his Lord as his Lord is to behold him. If you are running to Christ, He is already near you. If you sigh for His presence, that sigh is the evidence that He is with you. He is with you even now; therefore, be glad. Go forth, beloved, and talk with Jesus on the beach, for He often walked along the seashore. Commune with Him amid the olive groves, which were so dear to Him in many a night of wrestling prayer. Have your heart right with Him, and He will visit you often. Soon enough, you will walk every day with God, as Enoch did, and so turn weekdays into Sabbaths, meals into sacraments, homes into temples, and earth into heaven. May it be so with all believers! Amen.
Table of Contents1. Mysterious Visits2. Under His Shadow3. Under the Apple Tree4. Over the Mountains5. Christ's Delight in His Church6. The Beauty of the Church7. Sweet Fellowship with Christ8. Redeemed Souls Freed from Fear9. Bonds of Unity10. "I Will Give You Rest"11. Jesus Asleep on a Pillow12. Real Contact with Jesus13. A Word from the Beloved's Mouth14. Comfort and Consolation15. The Sin-Bearer