Revelation 2: 15 Thus you also have those who held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
God hates the Nicolaitan doctrine. That is pretty strong. There are a few things listed in the Bible that God hates, but, for the most part, the scriptures show us how very much He loves people. So we would do well to pay attention to these hates of God and ask ourselves if we are we guilty of doing the things He hates.
A long time ago I read that the Nicolaitans were a group of people who believed in the separation of the clergy and the laity. This doctrine is pervasive in the church of Jesus Christ even today. My pastor says that it is much better than it was, but if the Lord hates it then it is still too much and we need to shine the light of the glorious gospel upon it.
I believe that we can see a like issue in America today in that the liberal element of society wants Christianity banned from the public square and they interpret the constitution from that bent. God never intended leaders to separate themselves from the people they serve. The men who served in Congress were to be there a few years, return home and a new group was to come. God’s intent was servant leaders not career politicians.
Do we not have career ministers in the church? Was this original intent according to the written Word of God? I have heard the term “market place minister” used today. As far as I can see this is what scripture shows us. Paul and Silas were tent makers as well as ministers. Right and responsibility have gotten confused as far as I can see.
My pastor wears many hats, among them she is a chaplain for one of the local public services. She does many outreaches to the lost outside the church as well as leading the congregation to the “Water of the Word”. I believe this is as it should be.
Jesus gave a mighty example of being a servant when he got up from the Passover supper the eve of His betrayal and washed his disciples feet. A servant is not above his master, neither is the master to be lord over his servant. Paul says that we are to submit to one another in love. There is one Lord, one master, our Savior, Jesus the Messiah, it is He that we are to follow. The apostle Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” To follow is to listen to and emulate. It is not to make the person a god, a star. Much grief has attended the body of Christ by the star system. Christ alone! Jesus is Lord!
It seems to me that when anyone touches this area It is like stirring up a hornets nest. What follows are explanations or expounding on the subject, but the issue is not really addressed. I believe the reason is that there is hidden fear which controls and blinds people. Leaders are not above attack from the adversary.
I have no doubt that it is also true that there are some, like the religious system recorded in the Bible of the Pharisees and the Sadducees of Jesus day, who do not want to lose control of the people. They love the place they occupy in society and like the religious system before them, they see Jesus upsetting their apple cart so the final solution is to put Him to death; they deny His virgin birth, they deny the miracles, they deny Him, they crucify the Son of God afresh.
Let’s look at this area of separation between leaders and congregation. I believe that we need to address the religious establishment as opposed to a real relationship with our God. It is very complex and there are very many thoughts and ideas about it, but light needs to come and I pray that Holy Spirit will move upon our hearts and open blinded eyes and deaf ears that we may both see and hear what He is saying to the church of Jesus.
I attend a great fellowship. The leaders are very transparent, They do not make us feel that there is a difference between them and us on the human level, they are not perfect or more holy, but they are sensitive to this issue and want the people to know that they are people just like we are and they deal with issues like we do. I respect and honor them greatly and I believe that because of their transparency they garner more respect from the congregation.
Many years ago I was part of a group of people who began a new work in a small town. At the beginning of this work all was well, but in time it fell apart. The issues we are discussing today were a major part of that fall. I loved the pastors and was, in fact, lead by the Lord to be their personal intercessor. Toward the end of the ministry, the pastors turned on two of my prayer partners and told them they were no longer welcome at the services. Because they knew that I interceded for them, they wanted me to stay, but, their actions were devastating to me and I could not continue.
Not too long after this time, while I was on tour in Israel and over breakfast one morning, I met a man who described himself as a pastor to pastors. He asked to speak with me after the day’s tour was over. As I was on the way to my room that evening we met in the hall.
He asked me this question: “Do you think that everyone sees what you see?” I did not know how to answer that question; he explained to me that I saw what others do not see and that was because of how God had gifted me. He told me that I assumed everyone saw what I saw. He went on to say that very often in a ministry a lay person will be gifted by God to help their pastor or the people, but because of the insecurity of the pastor or the fear of losing “their sheep” to that person, they become jealous of the gift or the person. This intrusion of the enemy is designed to destroy a ministry. Thank God there are pastors who are secure in their gifting and calling who don’t allow this to take them or the ministry down.
Conversely, the spirit of intimidation works against lay people as the Nicolaitan spirit works against leaders. This spirit keeps the body of Christ in bondage though insecurity and confusion. I believe God is working in both areas to help us understand the hindrances that we face. The adversary desires to prevent us from fulfilling the Lord’s commission to take the gospel to the world. But, the Holy Spirit is our helper, our teacher and in God’s time everything will align with God’s will.
When pastors exalt themselves above the people, when they see themselves as knowing more and therefore are more “special” to God than the people, when the people follow a person instead of God, and when the people feel insecure and thus unable to do what they are called to do, then the enemy has won and everyone is in bondage to the adversary and the plan of God is not fulfilled.
Additionally, how many are lost to God in nothing more than social clubs, ineffective for the Kingdom of God, only doing works in order to salve their guilty conscience, but not having the faith of God and doing “The work of the ministry”.
James addresses the issue of faith and works when he says, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works, faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead. I will show you my faith by my works. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2: 1-26 We see in this passage that faith and works are dependent on each other. Works alone will not suffice, nor will faith without works, they are two pillars upon which all service in the Kingdom of God stands, Jesus being the secure foundation.
The word of God says that every believer is to be a minister. The so-called “five-fold” ministry was to serve the body of Christ, to prepare them for the work of the ministry. I cannot see in the Bible that they were to be separated or isolated from or exalted above the laity, the lay person. This is the work of the Nicolaitan spirit, the spirit that God hates. The spirit of intimidation, though not specifically mentioned in the Bible, is nevertheless to be resisted and rebuked, in Jesus name.
Lord, my prayer is that you will work in your people to bring truth to every lie or deception, that you will infuse your people with understanding and wisdom. May every hidden thing be made known and every thing covered up be exposed in order that your will, your way and your plan and purpose may be fulfilled. in Jesus name, Amen.
Jesus loves you, this I know!