Intro: As I was watching the news this morning, I witnessed a report about “magic mushrooms” that are being used in U.S. churches in California, Oregon, Alabama, and Utah. Magic mushrooms and cannabis buds are being given as “sacraments.” In fact, in Oakland, CA, the church founder believes and states, “There’s no doubt in my mind that mushrooms were the first way our ancient ancestors understood there was more to this existence.” This church has 80,000 registered members who pay $5 per month to pick up a “sacrament” in order to experience spiritual development by bringing people closer to the “divine” and the “theological heart of faith.” ($400K/mo) Here’s my thoughts: Not a chance! This is a church acting as a drug dispensary that leaves the mind open and unprotected to evil spirits.
What does it mean to be open-minded? According to Merriam Webster, we are open-minded when we are willing to listen to or accept different ideas or opinions. As I sit here considering that definition this morning, it occurs to me that my mind and the minds of all people have a different starting point of thought or understanding based on individual exposure. Besides, all minds are affected by sin and tempted to follow deception. I cannot just leave myself open-minded to just anything; I must guard my mind because it affects my life (Pro 4:23). So, I must decide where to find the truth and build my understanding from there or I will believe just about anything.
Scripture teaches the Lord is the one who opens our minds to the truth (Luke 24:45) It is the work of the Holy Spirit to witness to our spirit; “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). “His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).
In our passage today, the Bereans are an example of being properly open-minded. They listen to the message from Paul and Silas, then they allow the Old Testament Scripture to be their filter for the truth about the Messiah, because at this time the New Testament had not been written. These people gather, because they want to learn the truth about Christ; they know there is truth to discover as they read Scripture and wait on the Holy Spirit. Beware, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (Pro 14:12).
Acts 17:10-15 NLT Paul and Silas in Berea
10 That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.
13 But when some Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God in Berea, they went there and stirred up trouble. 14 The believers acted at once, sending Paul on to the coast, while Silas and Timothy remained behind. 15 Those escorting Paul went with him all the way to Athens; then they returned to Berea with instructions for Silas and Timothy to hurry and join him.
Prayer: Lord, this morning I simply bow humbly before your throne of grace and call for mercy for those deceived by false shepherds. I pray for the ability to speak and share the truth that leads others into abundant living and righteous peace in the Spirit. Please help guard our thoughts, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.