On today's Footsteps, we talk with Pavel Shifman about reaching Russians who are in their twenties and thirties. Pavel is involved in media ministry in his home country of Russia, and he explains that these people are "pretty much skeptical toward the Church ... toward belief." So, how do believers, whether in Russia or anywhere else in the world, share Christ with skeptical unbelievers? Obviously, we have to build relationships of trust, and that often takes time. Also, we can find some divine help in Jesus' "high-priestly" prayer in John 17. In this chapter, Jesus intercedes for His disciples and for His Church. He prays,
"Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:17-26, NIV)
First of all, it's exciting and reassuring to know that Jesus Himself is with us, "in" us, and at work through us as we share the Gospel with others. Notice what Jesus prayed to the Heavenly Father, "I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known." Jesus "will continue" to draw people to Himself. That reality should give us some confidence!
Still, practically speaking, how exactly do we share Christ with skeptical people? Let me just mention a few words that Jesus used in His prayer: "the truth," "your word," "unity," "glory," and "love." It appears obvious that when the Church works together in unity, when we point unbelievers to the magnificent glory of our Lord, and when we proclaim the truth of Scripture in love, then we will see success in evangelizing the lost--even those who are skeptical.
Click here to listen to Footsteps' Latest Program
Click here to visit Footsteps
(Photo by Roman Kokoev on Unsplash)