Friday, April 20, 2012

What Jesus Hates & Despises

What Jesus Hates
"Yet this you do have assembly in Ephesus, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate" (Revelation 2:6).
"You assembly in Pergamum have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans" (Revelation 2:15).

Nico means to rule over. Laitans means laity which simply translated means "people." God hates the deeds & doctrines (teachings) that involve some people ruling over other people in His body. That means God hates hierarchical authority in the body of Christ.

Interesting that the assembly in Ephesus is the first one written to, it represents the first century body of Christ, those who had not adopted the ungodly doctrine and deeds of hierarchical authority.

The assembly in Pergamum is the third one written to. Pergamum means "mixed Marriage" or "perverted marriage." Jesus says they "have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans" meaning hierarchical authority. He says hierarchical authority is "a stumbling block" and it causes people to "commit acts of immorality" (Revelation 2:14-15). The assembly in Pergamum represents the beginning of the institutional church from around the third century which began to have "leaders" (bishops, priests etc) rise up over other people thus usurping the headship of Christ. Headship which of course points to marriage thus setting up a "mixed marriage." How hate worthy is the thing that causes someone to cheat in their marriage? That friends is what hierarchical authority in the body of Christ is.

Hierarchical authority is the only thing in the New Testament that Jesus personally says that He "hates." The entire institutional church is built on hierarchical authority. No church of that sort can claim to "hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans" like Jesus said those in Ephesus did because they are all doing those deeds and in fact not only approve of the deeds but highly exalt the deeds.

Jesus also spoke harshly to the self-righteous but notice that those self-righteous people were exclusively people in positions of hierarchical authority. Hierarchical authority is the fertilizer that makes self-righteousness grow.

Here are two other places where Jesus spoke against hierarchical authority:
Jesus said, "Do not be called leaders because you have one Leader, Christ and you are all brothers" (see Matthew 23:1-12). In this context Jesus speaks against accepting (allowing others to call you by) honorary titles. He also speaks against lack of humility, laying burdens on people, bossing people around, doing things to be noticed by others so you can receive acclaim, loving to be in places of honor, & being greeted as better than others based on your position.

Jesus said to His disciples, "The kings of the Gentiles have power over/exercise authority over them but it shall not be so among you" (see Luke 22:13-30). In this context Jesus speaks against exercising authority over brothers and sisters in Christ (abusive or non-abusive), seeking status over others, & using honorary titles to make yourself seem kind or superior.

What Jesus Despises
The writer of Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus despised the shame of the cross, meaning He felt all the shame and disgrace that mankind has ever felt because of sin. Christ despises the shame we feel, not us but the shame that causes us to feel far from Him as it did with Adam and Eve in the garden (compare Genesis 2:25 with Genesis 3:10). Shame is disgrace, the literal opposite of grace. It is the feeling or perception of disfavor, that you've lost favor with God. God gives grace not disgrace. “Everyone who trusts in Jesus will never be put to shame” (Isaiah 28:16, Romans 9:33, 10:11, 1 Peter 2:6, Joel 2:26-27, Isaiah 45:17, 54:4). He wants us to know His love. Imagine if something made someone you love feel as if you didn't love them or that you loved them less. That is how Jesus felt on the cross when He was despising the shame. The God who loves us without measure felt how unloved we feel. 

Sadly hierarchical authority & shame meet at the pulpit, an unbiblical place at every church institution where the so called "leader," "pastor," or "man of God" slings shame and condemnation over a subdued crowd. I have yet to hear a sermon that didn't at some point disgrace grace. I don't say this to shame anyone but to warn of the danger in it. If those on top don't suffer, those on the bottom will and in ways many can't begin to imagine. Usually both suffer but are fooled into thinking that this is "God's way." Be assured that it is not. Heed the words of Jesus. Drop your titles, leave your positions, become a brother or sister and let Christ do what He came to do, build His people.

Jesus did away with the old covenant system of hierarchical authority when He rose again and sent His Spirit. This allowed Him to be the only & perfect mediator between mankind and God (1 Timothy 2:5). He made all of God's people kings and priests, all honored but all equal. What an amazing Lord we have!

Related Posts
The Word Leaders in the New Testament
Older People as Guides not Officials as Governors

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