This you have to your credit: You hate the works of the nicolaitans, which I also hate.
It is a very rare day when you hear Jesus tell someone that He hates something. As a matter of fact, I don’t know of any other time where Jesus said he hated something except in this case — where He is speaking to The Church at Ephesus — in The Revelation of Jesus Christ. This vitriolically implied language came as Jesus was revealing to John some profound things that were yet to come. He was speaking to the Seven Churches of The Revelation, when He spoke to Ephesus. In each of the churches He expressed what He thought about them, and He also expressed discipline where necessary. He had said some challenging things to the Ephesian Christians, and then He said what was written above. Indeed, like the folks at Ephesus, He hated the works of the Nicolaitans. By the way, He makes it clear that their hating this works was a good thing.
What is it that the Nicolaitans did? One strong, but very accurate interpretation of the poor behavior of the Nicolaitans, is found in the word itself. Actually, in the Greek language, two words make up Nicolaitans: Niclos, which means to conquer, and Laos, the laity. There was a group of people who were conquering the laity. And today we have the ill effects of this activity. These Nicolaitans separated the “professional” clergy from the laity, and they rested the majority of the share of “ministry” with the clergy. In our day, this is expressed where the Pastor of the church is “The” minister, and the people are “The” laity. Or as some would say of themselves, “just laity.” Yet this is not what God designed the Church to be. So, Jesus said that He hated what the Nicolaitans did. I suspect He is not too terribly fond of the twenty-first century version of this ministry style either.
In the near future, let me encourage you to read the epistle written to the Ephesians, and you can see that, in Ephesians 4:11-13, The Pastor, among other leaders, has one purpose: The Pastor is to equip God’s people to do The work of the ministry. In other words, contrary to the Nicolaitan philosophy, there is the Pastor, BUT the Pastor is not THE minister. He is a minister, and a huge part of this ministry is to equip each individual in the congregation to do the works of the ministry. In essence, each congregant is a minister. This leader is The Pastor, and the people are the ministers. This was the highly effective design from the beginning. Once a Pastor calls forth the gifts of all the lay ministers, miracles happen in the church … not the least of which is church growth.
Today God is calling people into His ministry: No! God is not calling you to be the Pastor of a church. God’s not calling you to attend seminary. But God has given you gifts which He wants you to use. Don’t quench the Holy Spirit by failing to open up your hearts to God’s call. Don’t ignore God when God calls out, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us.” (See Isaiah 6:1-8) Stand up! Open your heart! Raise your hand! Volunteer before the Lord, “Here I am! Send me!” And right in your congregation, along with scores of women and men who follow Christ, you and the entire family of God located within your Church, will grow where you are planted. You will grow spiritually. You will grow emotionally. You will grow in how you relate to God and other people. You will grow financially. And you will grow physically. That is your numbers will increase; however, continue in the way of the Nicolaitans, and things will not grow or go so well. Continue attempting to be the church, individually and collectively, by asking God to bless the mess of the Nicolaitan philosophy — which Jesus hated — and your congregational fellowship will decline and perhaps even die.
Let your clarion call be to be the people of God who are “called” to be the people of God, who live by the grace of God, for the glory of God, as God develops your gifts and grows you, as a church — individually and collectively. Then you will surely be blessed today, especially today.