It seems to me that the following story is illustrative of what we often speak of. Christianity, on the whole, and without doubt, has become a religion of performance. If those claiming to be Christian are seen to attend church, do daily devotions, do not drink, smoke or swear, get involved with certain works like serve at conferences or childrens' camps, they are deemed to be genuine Christians.
As I was thinking about this I came across a story which Alan Knox tells, a story which I couldn't help but repeat here:
There is a story about an old man and a young man on the same platform before a vast audience of people.
A special program was being presented. As a part of the program each was to repeat from memory the words of the Twenty-third Psalm.
The young man, trained in the best speech technique and drama, gave, in the language of the ancient silver-tongued orator, the, words of the Psalm.
“The Lord is my shepherd …” When he finished, the audience clapped their hands and cheered, asking him for an encore so that they might hear again his wonderful voice.
Then the old gentleman, leaning heavily on his cane, stepped to the front of the same platform, and in a feeble, shaking voice, repeated the same words-”The Lord is my shepherd. . .”
But when he was seated -no sound came from the listeners. Folks seemed to pray. In the silence the young man stood to make the following statement:
“Friends,” he said, “I wish to make an explanation. You asked me to come back and repeat the Psalm, but you remained silent when my friend here was seated. The difference? I’ll tell you. I know the Psalm, but he knows the Shepherd.”
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ, a follower of Christ, is much, much different to what we have traditionally seen as "being a Christian". The word Christian now-days has been stripped of its meaning to simply mean a religious person.
Sadly, there are many who are heading towards the end of their lives, believing they are safe for eternity because they are loyal attenders, workers, etc., when in reality, they are as certain of a lost eternity as any unbeliever.
The above story illustrates the simple truth of what it means to be a follower of Christ, a member of His Father's family. It's about genuine relationship which the Lord Jesus Christ earned for all who would come to Him believing that what He did in His life, death and resurrection, and through the merit of which, those who trust, rest on this completed performance of a work, in faith, are assured of an eternity in His presence.
It's sinful for anyone to want, or expect more, from those who have placed their trust in Him.
Genuine followers of Christ, will want to meet together, not to follow a pre-arranged program, but to celebrate the Lord's Supper, in rememberance of what He did, and what He purchased for us. While they are together they will pray for and with one another, encourage one another, edify one another with what Scripture is saying, exhort one another. Occasionally they may have a teacher they know they can trust.
A strange phenomenon occurs when they understand this; they grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and they can't get enough of it, as they disciple one another, and make disciples, and the prominent figure, central amongst them, is the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ.
As I said, it's about relationship with the Father, the Son and each other indwelt and bound together by the Holy Spirit.