Literally, nicolaitans means, "those who overthrow the people (laity)" and conveys the notion of church leaders running things a little too tightly, pontificating as it were, and dominating the people's spiritual lives. Where I'm going with this, (and forgive me if this isn't exactly what the Lord had in mind) is with guys like Hymenaeus and Philetus, "who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some." (2 Timothy 2:17-18) These are teachers and preachers who crush the believers' faith!
There be those today who fervently deny the literal six-day Creation and teach evolution instead (Pat Robertson, even!). Other churches declare the gifts of the Spirit are not for today, but passed when the last Apostle died, or when the final book of the Bible was written. Still others insist women cannot teach nor preach, or those who have divorced cannot serve in the ministry. And in this way they overthrow the faith of some, and stifle the move of God in their church! I've been in churches that don't wanna know nuthin' about the Holy Spirit Baptism, nor of spiritual warfare, nor divine healing. [I didn't stay long.]
One of the things that grieves me to no end, is when a young believer, on fire for the Lord, and full of faith, starts to minister in the power of God and gets shut down by the Pastor or others. It breaks my heart and burns me up! I HATE IT!!!
Even Joshua, in his early days, fell into this Nicolaitan spirit. We read in Numbers 11 how God anointed men to ease Moses' burden, then this happened: "but there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the Spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out to the tabernacle; and they prophesied in the camp. And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, 'Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.' And Joshua, the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, 'My lord Moses, forbid them'" But Moses was like, "I wish EVERBODY had the Holy Ghost!"
Again, John and some of the Apostles did the same thing when this dude was casting out devils in Jesus' name (Mark 9:38-39), but Christ told them to leave the kid alone and let him minister. The best known case of this Nicolaitanism happened when King Saul heard the ladies singing, "Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!" He didn't just discourage David, he actually tried to kill him! (1 Samuel 18:7-8) Another example from the New Testament is Diotrophes "who loves to have the preeminence among them, and receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church!" (3 John 9-10) .
This guy was a piece of work! And we start to see the mindset behind it: he wanted to be the BIGSHOT. Other passages we looked at mention envy as the motivation for this kind of activity. And it's sad. You know, the intercessors are praying for God to move in the church, and when He raises someone up, the insecure bigshots shut him or her down! The brother or sister who comes to the Pastor with a vision, or calling, or gift, or ministry gets zapped with, "Who do you think YOU are?!" Thus Nicolaitans dump dirty water on the fires of the Spirit.
I myself was once told, "You are not called to the ministry."
In the 18th chapter of Acts we're shown how when Apollos came on the scene with limited knowledge of the Gospel, Aquila & Priscilla took him under their wings and taught him. They nurtured him, mentored him. They didn't shut him down, they cranked him up and turned him loose! This is the way it should be, brethren.
It is so easy to fall into this overthrowing the faith of believers God is raising up! John almost did it; Joshua almost did it. I pray the Lord I never do it to anyone. Many churches are not growing because when the Holy Spirit starts moving they shut it down. Let us search, if we have done this, or are doing this, to cause some to stumble for our own ego's sake. Rather, let us encourage one another more and more as we see the Day approaching.
And let us repent of our dirty deeds done dirt cheap.
Peace and love in the Holy Ghost.