“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lamp stand from its place among the churches. But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:2-7 NLT
Jesus sees everything we do. He hears every word we say. He knows every thought we think. He is omniscient - all knowing! No matter where we are or what we are doing, God's eye is upon us! What does He see in our lives? Our homes? Our church? The words of today's scripture were given to the church of Ephesus but we must harness the principles of the message given by Jesus to His church and put them into application in our day. We, too, need an analysis from Jesus of the state of the church in our city, in our community, and in our time. Just as in the time of Ephesus, we are in dire need of a word from Jesus about our practices and condition. The Nicolaitans are mentioned in this passage of scripture. I want to share a commentary from Biblegateway.com about the Nicolaitans that will help us understand who these people were and what they did that was so detested by Jesus. Here it is: "NICOLAITANS nĭk’ ə lā ə tənz (Νικολαιτής, -αί). A term appearing in the Revelation (2:6, 15) describing members of Christian congregations who held a doctrine that the Lord hated. Irenaeus said that they were followers of Nicolaus of Antioch, a proselyte who was among the seven men chosen to serve the Jerusalem congregation (Acts 6:5), who had forsaken true Christian doctrine; he said they lived in unrestrained indulgence (Against Heresies I; 26:3). Hippolytus confirmed this by noting that Nicolaus left correct doctrine and had the habit of indifference as to what a man ate and as to how he lived (Refutation of Heresies 7:24). The Apostolic Constitutions (6:8) described them as “shameless in uncleanness.” Although Clement of Alexandria defended Nicolaus by insisting that his followers had misunderstood him, he observed that the Nicolaitans abandoned themselves to pleasures like goats in a life of shameless self-indulgence (The Miscellianes 2:20). In the letter to the church at Pergamum the Nicolaitans were associated closely with those people who held the teaching of Balaam. This may have been a play on words. “Nicolaitans” could have been derived from two Gr. words, nikan, which meant “to conquer” and laos, which meant “people.” Likewise Balaam could be derived from two Heb. words, bela which meant “to conquer” and ha’am, which meant “people.” Nicolaus and Balaam would then be the Gr. and Heb. forms of the same name, descriptive in each instance of an evil teacher who had influence over the people and brought them into bondage to heresy. A story is recorded of the seduction of the Israelites into immoral and idolatrous unions with the women of Moab (Num 25:1-5). Had this situation not been checked, Israel would have been destroyed as a nation. Numbers 31:16 attributed the success of this seduction of God’s people to the evil influence of a prophet named Balaam who advised Balak, king of Moab, to follow such a course of action. Balaam became, therefore, in Hebrew history a symbol of an evil man who led God’s people into immorality and sin. They were a people who used Christian liberty as an occasion for the flesh, against such Paul warned (Gal 5:13). The enticement to such a course of action was the pagan society in which Christians lived where eating meat offered to idols was common. Sex relations outside marriage were completely acceptable in such a society. The Nicolaitans attempted to establish a compromise with the pagan society of the Graeco-Roman world that surrounded them. The people most susceptible to such teaching were, no doubt, the upper classes who stood to lose the most by a separation from the culture to which they had belonged before conversion." Ephesus received a commendation from Jesus Christ concerning their hard work, patient endurance, and intolerance of evil people. This church was on the right track doctrinally, but they had lost the love they once had for God and for each other. Jesus was calling them back to a fresh love for Him. O, how we are in need of the same! We certainly don't need the lamp stand of the church in Our day to be removed from among us. Wake up church! It's time to have a genuine, Holy Spirit baptized, devil chasing, sin overcoming revival in Jesus name!!! I pray He sends it here, and now! I invite you to join me in this prayer: "Jesus, please fill us with Your love! Help us to love You, hate sin, and love the sinner. Help us love You so much that nothing is more important to us than pleasing You. Help us realize that truly loving You means truly hating sin and it's practice. Help us, like the church of Ephesus, to hate the conduct of those who are immoral. May we never accept what you reject! In Jesus name!!! Amen!" Lastly, may we ask God to open our ears to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to us. We are His church. What is He saying to us???
Rev. Curtis Norris