February 16, 2022
William Tyndale was born around 1494 in Gloucestershire, England. He was a leading light in the Protestant Reformation until his execution in October of 1536. His crimes included translating God's Word into the common language. So, in 1536, Tyndale was convicted of heresy and executed by strangulation, after which his body was burned at the stake.
Not a safe time for reformers. Tyndale, among others, was killed for proclaiming the truth. Those were difficult times to be a particular kind of Christian.
We are not even close to experiencing any sort of persecution or martyrdom here in the United States. Being a Christian is not a crime. If anything, over the years, some Christians have over-identified with political parties or movements in ways that aren't healthy.
We cannot possibly relate to the pressure put on Tyndale, let alone the people to whom the seven letters were written in Revelation 2-3. The risk of persecution and even death weighed heavily upon them. It is within that context that the first letter was written to the church at Ephesus.
The church at Ephesus was spiritually strong. In Acts 18, we learn that Apollos was discipled by the church. After Paul left Ephesus, he left the church in the capable hands of Aquila and Priscilla. Under their tutelage, Apollos grew in his faith and became a strong leader, in his own right. Paul later returned to train and retrain other pastors. It was such a beautiful community of faith, that they wept openly when Paul said he was leaving them.
Jumping forward to Acts 19,