These words from Genesis chapter 6 verse 5 remind us that every unbeliever is dominated by the devil. They may not be demon possessed. I'm not going that far. But they are dominated by the devil and he leads them by the nose. They think, 'I'm independent; I'm the captain of my own ship.' You're not! The lifestyle, while yet unsaved, gives the pedigree. The pedigree is shown by the lifestyle. God saw that every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart was only evil continually, without interruption. That's man.
He says, 'You walked according to the course of this world, following the mind set and custom of the world.' Can I give you an example of what I mean? Here is the media, or some fashion buff, and they've decided that such and such is going to be the fashion. Dresses are going to be that long, or that short; it's going to be this and that colour; it's going to be such and such a cut. Do we find people saying, 'Listen here. I want to make up my own mind about what I dress?' Oh no. Everybody's got to follow the fashion. They are being led by the nose! They are like sheep; more sheepish than the four-legged variety. They follow the mind set and the custom of the world - it means this world.
Be a rebel. Be a rebel! Ask yourself, 'Why should I kowtow to these moguls? Why should I do what they say? Why shouldn't I make up my own mind?' I'm not asking you to be bizarre. But by all means, make up your own mind. Have you noticed in traffic?– two lanes in traffic. One lane is empty, the other one is clogged with cars. It's the sheep instinct: follow my leader! At last one intelligent driver says, 'Hey, the other lane is empty. Why don't I drive along there? I'll be able to overtake this long line.' Very few think like that. Follow my leader.
'You have been bought with a price,' says the Bible.
'Be not the servants of men.' So we are not to walk according to the course of this world, but of course, it's much more than just fashion that we are talking about. The Bible says the whole world lies in the wicked one, and what He means is, it's in his control. He (the devil) will divert them; he'll amuse them to keep them distracted from thinking about who they are; where they are going; and what will happen to them after they die. So crank up the jolly music, and let's introduce innovations just to keep them distracted, and to keep them from thinking.
At the beginning of the 2nd World War, in Great Britain, they decided that it was a very serious time, so we've got to prepare now. We've been caught half ready; we've got to concentrate on the war effort. Everything else is superfluous. Entertainment; music hall; comedians, and so on. After such a time like this, they are out of place. Do you know the people began to scream for them? For the entertainers, for the comedians. 'We need something. We are being driven out of our minds with this threat that hangs over us. We need something to distract us; to make us think of other things.'
So we find the devil rules his people and diverts them. According to the course of this world, means of course, the mind set of this world; this age. According to the prince of the power of the air. That is with reference to the devil; the evil one who rules the fallen. The LORD said to His people who hated Him,
'You are of your father, the devil.' And that's why some people say the New Covenant Scriptures are anti-Semitic. But, believe me, the prophets said it before that.
'You seed of the serpent!' GOD says through Isaiah, the prophet. So call Isaiah anti-Semitic! The New Covenant Scriptures, as well as the Hebrew Scriptures; they all speak with the same voice. And it is the voice of GOD! He says that at one time, you were ruled by the devil! People don't like this, but it is true.
'The spirit that now works;' it's a mighty, evil spiritual power; vying for supremacy; seeking for supremacy. 'I will be like the Most High,' says the devil. And for that he was cast out of Heaven. But he still bears a grudge, and he's still seeking to do all the harm he can, to try and limit the power of GOD. Of course, it's a lost cause. Of course it is. Because GOD is the sole power; the sole supreme power.
And he (the devil) is now working; it is not a thing of the past. You were under his influence; but you are not now. It is a thing of the past with every Believer. But with every unbeliever; everyone who rejects JESUS, Messiah, he is still at work in you. He now works in opposition to GOD. There is a emphasis here on present activity. For example, he will put evil thoughts even in the child of GOD. Have you had a fight with evil thoughts? Have you had a struggle and you hate yourself, and you even feel at times almost suicidal, because of these thoughts that bombard your mind? They are not yours. The devil is seeking to inject evil thoughts. As long as you groan and cry out, you are not held guilty. There is a very delicate illustration of that in the Law of Moses. If a damsel was assaulted out in the field, and she cried for rescue, and no one rescued her; she was not held guilty because she cried for help. And the same way, you and I, we feel we are being assaulted spiritually by the devil. As long as we are groaning and crying out for forgiveness and for help from GOD, GOD says, 'You are not guilty.' The birds, as one old writer put it, can fly over your head. You can't stop them. But you can stop them from making a nest in your hair. There you are. He seeks to inject evil thoughts; he opposes good ones; but as long as we cry to GOD for help, He will bring us out of our trouble.