(Part 2 of 4)
Revelation 2:6… “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate” (KJV). The Ephesian church was having trouble with this spirit, the spirit of leaders taking advantage of the saints. This doctrine was started by Nicholas, one of the seven in Acts 6. Nicholas was a proselyte from Antioch. It seems that handling the money which came in for the support of the poor got to him. His own appetite got out of control. Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John, says that Nicolas and the Nicolaitanes led lives of unrestrained indulgence.
Titus 3:9-11… “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself” (KJV).
Imbalances and extremism in the Ephesian church…
Acts 20:28-30… “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (KJV). In Revelation 2:1-8, the Apostle John wrote that some in the Ephesian church began to say that they too are apostles. They were found to be liars. How could the great Ephesian church come into imbalance and into extremism? The story is found in 1 Timothy. Timothy was sent in as pastor for a time. Let’s look at a few verses.
1 Timothy 1:3-4… “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do” (KJV). “Novel” doctrines (teachings) came in. Christians often get tired of truth. They seek new and different teachings, so they look back to their old lifestyles and beliefs. Numbers 11:4-6 gives us an example: “And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.” They got tired of the manna (God’s food). In the Ephesian church, they began to give heed to fables and endless genealogies that added nothing to their faith. The genealogies were not of Biblical men, but of demonic gods of mythology. Some people believe this in our society. Many follow “spirit guides,” even in church circles. A church gets into imbalance and extremism by majoring on just one or two elements of Biblical truth. Error never comes into the church waving a flag that says, “I am error.” It comes in subtly and cleverly crafted by lying spirits. Jesus said of “tares” (Matthew 13:28; see also verse 39) that “an enemy hath done this.” In the Garden of Eden, the devil took an element of truth and deceived Eve with a wrong interpretation of what God had said.
(To be continued…)
Pastor George Belobaba
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