I had to split this into parts, it was just getting too big.  First I needed a bit of back story to make the main point(part 2) make sense.

Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  Revelation 2:6

Who were these people, for the Lord to say he hates them.  I can only remember one other group that Jesus ever spoke of that way, the Pharisees and teachers of the law.  It’s easy to look at them and condemn them, but harder to think of yourself then.  Imagine, these were the ministers, those who were educated and taught to lead the people.  It was these who dedicated their lives to God, who didn’t work in “worldly” jobs but worked for God.  And yet Jesus held so much against them.  They put a weight upon the people but wouldn’t help them.  They made everything look nice, but inwardly were wolves.  They set themselves above others.  They controlled God, so they controlled the people.  

Now lets go back to the Nicholaitans.  Nikos is the greek word for conquer, latos is the word for “the people”, but also where we got the word laity.  So there goal was to  to conquer the laity.  How would they do this?  Let’s think back to the early church.  In Acts we see the church expanded by leaps and bounds.  If you go back historically you find that they were persecuted and martyred constantly, yet this just continued to grow their numbers.  At this point the enemy decided to go to a different tactic.  If he couldn’t scare them away, he would infiltrate them.  His spirit worked itself into the church and started to make a new gospel.  One that sounded so much like the real thing, it could confuse believers.  Seems strange?  Think about this verse.

For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. – Matthew 24:24

You see, if you look back at the word antichrist, it isn’t translated “against Christ”, but “another Christ”.  The devil moved in and started to try to control the church.  This started back when the church was combined with the beliefs of Rome at the time to make it the national religion.  Most people saw that as a huge triumph for Christianity, God saw it as a compromise, and He doesn’t like compromise.  This slowly led to the dark ages where all access to the word of God was taken from men.  The church controlled it all, you could only get to God through them.  Even to the point of paying for your loved ones to get to Heaven.  The Bible is clear, Jesus is the only way to God, not a minister, a priest or a pope.  The restoration came around and the common man was given access to the Bible again.

I wandered off track a little bit.  Back to Acts, already the enemy was coming in to undermine the church from within. To create a system rather than a relationship.  This is in part what Jesus described as the “wheat and the tares”.  It’s not an obvious enemy.  The wheats and the tares looked very similar, so it’s hard to tell which is which until the time of harvest.  Also, they’re growing with the wheat.  They are among us.  To remove them would remove some of the wheat.  You can see a similar difference between Cain and Able.  Able had revelation of blood, Cain had his hard works.  Cain worked harder, but got nothing for it, because he tried out of his own strength.

What is one of their major doctrines?  To put themselves between you and God. In acts they wanted the Gentiles to be circumcised. The wanted to place their laws upon the freedom of the new believers.  They wanted to buy their way in. We can see over time that they wanted the control of the church.  This is what I still see today.

I see it in the men’s conference I just went to that glorified those in the ministry as more valuable than everyone else.

I see it in a Facebook post from a youth minister that talked down upon those who have “jobs not related to furthering the gospel”. I guess he forgot that Paul made tents.

I see it when the church makes plans from their understanding, calls it the will of God, shames the people into giving money for it, and calls it a miracle if there are results.

These are the ones that want to pull in anyone who shows gifts and talents, when they seem them start to grow, and pull them into their system: their ministries, seminaries and committees. Now, I need to stop here and make one thing clear. These things are all wonderful in their place, but they are not a replacement for a relationship.  There is always good mixed in, wheat and tares.  In Jesus day there were Pharisees that followed Him.  Not only that, but I’d gamble to say most of the people doing this are good people with good motives, just led by the wrong spirit.  Most of our ministers are very sincere, but sincerity doesn’t make things right.  They know what they have learned or been taught, and bring that upon others.  They would rather use their intellect to lead than lean on God.  I see that with churches today.  We have our man-made programs.  We focus so much on getting the people’s money into the church, because the church knows best how to use it.   Unfortunately, most of us are happy to go to our churches and be told how to live. If we really get convicted, we serve in the church and believe that we are good Christians. When God begins to call us we decide we must “go into ministry”.

There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death. – Proverbs 14:12

What happened to God being our Lord. What happened to the spirit of Jesus showing up and directing Paul. What happened to the voice of The Lord talking to Ananias who treated it as a common thing(Acts 9:10).  If you look, you’ll notice didn’t cringe, yell or cry like the Old Testament when God came to people, he just said “here am I”.  It’s hard to hear the Lord, but only because we’ve made it so.

[Now, don’t think that I feel like I’m better than these ministers.  In most cases I would say I’m not.  I’ve been part of the same system, I’ve been comfortable with the place I’m at and how blessed I am.  Obviously I’m trying to break free from that, but I know a lot of this looks like me condemning a lot of our wonderful men of God, and I really am not trying to do that, but I am trying to bring us back to the Lord in a real relationship.]