Rev. 2:1-7 (ESV)
"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: 'The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.
 " 'I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.  I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary.  But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.  Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.'
To the angel of the church in Ephesus…. So if we were talking of Cherubs and Seraphs why would John be instructed to write to them? And if he was talking of these creatures, why the admonishment? This is perhaps the best argument for the idea that he is talking of pastors as angels.
So first the Angel in Ephesus is praised, toil, patient endureance, does not bear with those who are evil, tests those who call themselves apostles…. The angel in Ephesus was zealous for doctrine. He was zealous for the faith. He was even zealous for his people. Yet he had abandoned the love he had at first.
I suppose some would describe this as dead orthodoxy, a concern for doctrine over and against works of love. Perhaps. Today I think the problem is normally just the opposite, a concern for works with absolute disregard for theological orthodoxy.
Yet at times you see this sort of thing happening. At times you see pastors who are so busy fighting against false teachers and false doctrine, that the persona take on that of a contentious spirit, and even when they don’t want to they seem to take it out on the people who simply don’t know any better. Their love comes to be that of a love for themselves and their own theological eruditeness. Sometimes in their own effort to remain “confessional” or to preserve their reputation as a conservative they show no mercy to those for whom Christ died. It is something to watch out for.
But “you hate the works of the Nicolaitans….” At times it is good to hate. The Nicolaiaans were a sect at one time fairly popular in Asia Minor, seems they engaged in and promoted fornication and adultery, and in the name of Christ. That is the knowledge we have been able to gain about them from extra Biblical texts of the time. Somehow this seems to be a perpetual danger for the church. Heresies of this type have come and gone throughout the history of the church, cults of this sort are as old as man. There are works to hate. There are religions to hate.
Today it may not be the sin of actively promoting this behavior, but turning a blind eye to the behavior. Marriage is a good thing. Society may not approve of it anymore. The laws and culture seem to be destroying it. But it is necessary. Christians cannot listen to society here. We can’t turn our eyes away from these sins, and not address them for what they are. There is forgiveness for these sins. Forgiveness is not an excuse to condone.