I received a recent question from one sincere believer asking, “Is a Christian in sin if he’s not making disciples?” There are many believers around the world that are just contented with just being saved while not obeying the command of Jesus to make disciples. What does the Bible say about it?
Let me say answer this directly without judgement that a believer is sinning against the Lord Himself if he is not making disciples because this is a command by Jesus not an option nor just a simple conviction. In fact, it is disobedience toward His direct order by simply saying, “No, I would not do it because…”
I remember a Christian apologist who said straightforwardly that when a believer does not witness for Christ it is like him indirectly saying, “Lord, you are a liar.” It is due to the fact that the believer does not acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit in HIs life. A believer can hide under a number of excuses but the Lord knows the real issue why they do not want to follow Him. This is not about spiritual gift nor a measure of faith to do it but a mandate, instruction, and directive issued to all believers in Christ. As Jesus Christ said,
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” – Luke 6:46
In the Book of James the right thing to do is “not boasting” about tomorrow. What is the right thing to do when an unbeliever courts you? What is the right thing to do as a married man? What is the right thing to do as a Christian business person? Let me ask every believer who is reading this short article, “Is making disciples the right thing to do?”
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. – James 4:17
However, it is not for us to judge the heart of each person for not discipling but I would not wince even a bit by saying that a believer is sinning if he or she does not obey the Lord’s command in Matthew’s gospel account.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20
As Dr. Tim McKnight of Clam Divinity School says,
“If we encounter someone who repeatedly sins in a particular area and never repents of that sin, we would say that the individual does not show evidence of repentance and is probably not a disciple; however, the willful refusal to make disciples is a sin of omission against Christ. Can we claim to love and follow Jesus and yet willfully disobey His command to make disciples in light of John 14:15? If we love God, we will make disciples.”
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. – John 14:15