Multitudes of Christians today think that they have no obligation to serve their Lord. They seem to be content having, in their mind, obtained their “salvation”, to simply sit by, go through some motions, and wait to go to heaven. Why is this behavior so common today? There are a few reasons that can be fairly easily identified.
First, many of these folks aren’t really Christian at all. They’ve responded at some point to a message they heard saying that all they had to do to be “saved” was believe that Jesus was the Son of God who died for their sins, thereby “saving” them. What they didn’t seem to hear, perhaps because they were never told, is that “believe” in this proposition means entrusting their lives to God, rather than themselves or anything else. And that following belief, one has to repent of – turn away from – their life and aspirations before “believing” and replace them with Christ.
Today in most churches, Christ is never presented as Lord; Savior, sure, but Lord not so much. The idea of having a Lord is foreign to most moderns. They have no experience or intuition that helps them understand that when one has a Lord, one serves that person because He owns you and you owe your life to Him. The whole concept is so violently un-Western and archaic that it is perhaps easy to understand why modern churches just skip it.
Tragically, many people think of themselves as “Christian” simply because they agree with the proposition that Jesus of Nazareth was sent by God to die for their sins. “Even the demons believe — and shudder!” They do not believe they have a Lord, or any obligation to Him, nor have they repented of their previous lives. As a consequence, they have not been regenerated by His Holy Spirit and thus are not Christians. For this we have the modern church to blame.
There is another group who have a somewhat different misunderstanding. These are the people who have been so indoctrinated by the teaching found in some churches of God’s Grace as the only active ingredient in their salvation, that they hesitate to do anything that could be seen as a “work of the flesh”. Assuming they actually have repented and believed, their teaching has ensured that they will sit back and not lift a finger to perform any work in the Kingdom of God. Many of these folks are taught by Reformed pastors/churches who, in addition to emphasizing Grace, also emphasize the doctrine of God’s predestined “election” of them for salvation, leading some to snarkily refer to them as the “frozen chosen”.
Both types of misunderstanding deny the teaching of the Bible, and so are in their own ways, heresies.
How do the victims of these heresies break out of them? Certainly, the first group, the unconverted, has the bigger challenge. They first have to figure out if they want a Lord. They might do well to find a church that teaches the whole Gospel of Christ, and then having heard and understood it, make their decision.
The second group simply needs to read their Bibles and ask their Pastors if what it says applies to them.
In Matthew 22, Christ provides this answer to the question: “Which is the greatest commandment of the Law?”
 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Love, most assuredly, is an action. Then in John 14 Christ says:
John 14:15 (ESV) If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
Earlier, in John 12 He had said:
John 12:26 (ESV) If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
So in these verses Christ is throwing down a challenge that our misinformed friends have missed. He says we are to love Him. If you love Him, you are to serve Him by keeping His commandments and following Him, by which He means living the way He instructed us to live.
And how is that? Well, the Bible lays it out in great detail and with great insight. I’ve consolidated much of what it prescribes here.
One who has been victimized by either of these heresies can easily throw off his current ignorance and replace it with knowledge of the truth. But that won’t solve the problem for him. The problem will not be solved until he abandons his old way of thinking and receives the truth. When he does that, God, in His Grace, will honor his action.