You're Either Hating It Or Tolerating It!
"God hates the doctrine that teaches we can be saved and at the same time live immoral lives. To hate what God hates is an essential character of those loyal to Christ." - The Full Life Study Bible
"It is sin not to hate what God hates." - Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary
"The filthiness of the spirit and the filthiness of the flesh often go together. Corrupt doctrines and a corrupt worship often lead to a corrupt conversation (lifestyle)." - Matthew Henry
"We must reject all spokespersons who put their words above Biblical revelation...and who state that God accepts within the church any who commit acts of immorality and participate in the evil pleasures of the world. Some in the church often tolerate such false teaching because of indifference, fear of confrontation, or personal friendship, or because of a desire for peace, harmony, personal advancement, or money; God will destroy such a church with its leaders."
- The Full Life Study Bible
In Revelation 2:6, we find the Lord Jesus commending the Church at Ephesus for one specific thing. He just got finished rebuking them for leaving their first love. After calling them to repentance for that, He then says - "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate."
First of all, we want to take note of the fact that the Lord Jesus found this action commendable in the Church at Ephesus. They happened to hate something that He hated. In other words, in this one area, they were in conformity to His will and ways.
What was it that both the Lord Jesus and the Ephesians hated?
It was "the deeds of the Nicolaitans."
Who were these "Nicolaitans" and what were their "deeds" that were especially hateful to Jesus and this particular church?
Many commentators agree that this was a sect that sprang from Nicholas - a proselyte of Antioch - who happened to be one of the seven deacons of Jerusalem. He apostatized from the truth and became the founder of this Antinomian (anti-law) sect. This specific "loose" religious group of people were characterized by their sensuality - for seducing Christians into participating in idolatrous feasts and in sexually immoral practices.
This order - if you will - of Gnostics taught the most impure doctrines and followed the most impure practices. They supported the practice of having their wives in common...considered Christian liberty to mean that one had a license to commit sensual sins...caused the people to turn to the pagan laxity of morals...troubled the church in teaching that those under grace were free to practice idolatry and sexual sins...affirmed that sexual immorality did not affect one's salvation in Christ...taught that in order to master sensuality, one had to know the whole range of it by experience...advocated that their followers had to abandon themselves without reserve to the lusts of their bodies...and preached that the sin of immorality did not touch their spirit but only concerned their body.
The name "Nicolaos" - interestingly enough - was the Greek version of the name Balaam. Both names meant - "destroyer of the people."
When we delve into the Old Testament, we discover that Balaam was a false prophet who seduced the Israelites into sin (Numbers 22-25).. He showed the heathen king Balak - who was looking for a way to overcome these people - how to set a trap for them by beguiling them into committing the double sins of idolatry and fornication with the daughters of Moab and Midian. Through these enticements to sin, Balaam turned their hearts away from the Lord...led them astray...and caused them to reap the horrible judgment of Almighty God - rather than His favor or protection.
Did you catch the similarities between the Nicolaitans and Balaam? These two "corrupters of the people" accomplished their goals through the sins of idolatry and immorality.
However, Balaam was not the only leading agent of moral contamination under the Old Testament dispensation. There was another great seducer to idolatry. That one was Jezebel - the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre and Sidon - and wife of King Ahab (1 Kings 16:31)..
We see from the Scriptures that the Nicolaitans, Balaamites, and those of a Jezebel spirit all have one thing in common - they are corrupters of the people - corrupters through idolatry and sexually immoral practices.
Even though the Church at Ephesus was rebuked for leaving their "first love," the Lord commended them for their hatred and intolerance of the sin of the Nicolaitans.
We need to stop right here and ask all of the readers some pointed questions - Would the Lord Jesus commend you for your hatred and utter intolerance of sexual immorality in the church? Are you walking with Jesus so much so that you "hate" what He hates? Are you fully aware of the fact that He "hates" the doctrine that advocates that you can be saved and still live immorally?
You are either on the hating side or the tolerating side.
Perhaps you attend a church where the Pastor preaches a "loose" or "anything goes" Gospel. Resultantly, the leaders or members of the congregation are committing all kinds of sexual sins and it is simply "swept under the carpet." Or it may be excused in this way - "We all slip...or we all go astray."
No, let's say this for the record. We don't all slip, and we don't all go astray!
Jesus has many followers who are not modern-day Nicolaitans, Balaamites, or those of a Jezebel spirit.
In fact, if you're not of the contrary spirit than these "corrupters," you're not saved! You're not walking with Jesus - as you suppose!
In Pergamos, there were those who were "into" Christian liberty. They thought it was "cool" or "seeker-friendly" to teach that saving faith in Christ and a lifestyle of immorality were compatible.
Read what the Lord Jesus had to say about this group of believers - "But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate" (Revelation 2:14-15).
Once again, please take note that the Lord made it plain and clear that He hated the "doctrine of the Nicolaitans" which proposed the toleration of sin, unrighteousness, and unbiblical teaching.
Jesus' response to the Pergamos church was not "soft" and "gentle." On the contrary, it was stern and cutting - "Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth" (Revelation 2:16).
How many reading this message would like to receive a "word from the Lord" like this one? Which of you would want to have Him fight against you "with the sword of His mouth"?
Pergamos was not the only church to receive a sharp rebuke for tolerating sin and unbiblical teaching. Thyatira received a similar reprimand from the Lord - "Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which callest herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols" (Revelation 2:20). This church was putting up with leaders whose primary object was sexual immorality. Through the gift of prophecy, they were leading their "victims" into the grossest carnality. They claimed to speak for God, and because they manifested great talents, power, position, success, and influence, they were accepted by the church.
What did Jesus have to say about those following in the spirit of Jezebel?
Revelation 2:21-23 says - "And I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death: and all the churches shall know that I am He Which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works."
Once again, it is very evident that the Lord "hates" and will not tolerate the "doctrine of the Nicolaitans," "doctrine of Balaam," or "suffering" of "Jezebel" in His church.
You are either hating the acceptance of sexual sin and unbiblical teaching in the church of today or else you are tolerating it.
We leave you with our opening quotes -
"God hates the doctrine that teaches we can be saved and at the same time live immoral lives. To hate what God hates is an essential character of those loyal to Christ."
"It is sin not to hate what God hates."