Genesis 025 – An Evil Strategy

Genesis 025 – An Evil Strategy
Genesis 6:1-3 • Dr. Andy Woods • February 7, 2021 • Genesis


Genesis 025
An Evil Strategy
Genesis 6:1-4
Dr. Andy Woods

And as the children are being dismissed for junior church and nursery, I’d invite the congregation’s attention to the book of Genesis 6:1-4 as we’re continuing our movement verse by verse through the book of Genesis in our main service together.

The title of our message this morning is “An Evil Strategy.” And if you’re here for the very first time, I apologize in advance because you’re going to say this is the weirdest church you’ve ever been to, but it has to do with the subject matter of these verses which we will start getting into today.

Genesis 6-9 is really about the first global judgment that ever hit our planet:  the Flood.

Genesis 1-11 is a unit of thought, and it has to do with the beginning of the human race, focusing on 4 events:

  1. Creation: Genesis 1-2. Everything that God designed our world to be was in effect until it was marred by event B.
  2. Fall: Genesis 3-5. The Fall takes place in Genesis 3.  The after effects of the fall can be seen in Genesis 4-5, but in the midst of the fall, there’s good news.  The good news is there’s coming a point in history in which God is going to send a Redeemer.  Didn’t we just sing about our Redeemer in that song just prior?   This Redeemer is coming through the seed of the woman, or Eve.  His announcement is given in Genesis 3:15, and it’s the entrance of this Redeemer in the world announced very early on in the Bible, and that lineage leading to the Redeemer starts getting traced through the Bible.  Satan does not like that, and he’s trying to stop that lineage leading to the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  That’s why I’ve called our message this morning “An Evil Strategy.”

Genesis 6:1-4 is a time in history where Satan pulled out all of the stops and sunk to a level of low that he’s never probably sunk to since in terms of doing everything he could to prevent this Messiah from coming.  This all takes place around the events of the Flood which is the third major historical event in the opening section of Genesis that we’re studying.

We’ve had Creation, we’ve had Fall, and now we’re moving into Flood (C below).

There’s an easy way to remember Genesis 6-9 in terms of putting it all together.  Genesis 6 is the events before the Flood.  That’s what we’re going to start studying today.

  1. Flood: Genesis 7 is the flood itself; Genesis 8 is largely a description of how the waters following the Flood began to dissipate or abate. And then, Genesis 9 has to do with events immediately following the Flood.   What was the world like in the post-Flood world?

So in Genesis 6, there are basically two big ideas here (see slide on Genesis 6 Takeaways).  First, there’s the corruption of man in Noah’s day, and how God preserved Noah and his family in the Ark in spite of that corruption (Genesis 6:1-13).

And the second part of the chapter is really about God’s solution.  Whenever there’s a problem, God has a solution.  The problem is a coming global deluge, and we can see the construction of the ark and the instructions for its construction beginning in the second half of Genesis 6.  Those are the two big takeaways in Genesis 6.

Here’s a way to outline the whole chapter: (see slide on Genesis 6 Outline)

  1. God’s Grief (Genesis 6:1-7)
  2. God’s Grace (Genesis 6:8-10)
  • God’s Destruction—God makes an announcement of a prophecy concerning the Flood that’s coming (Genesis 6:11-13)
  1. God’s Instruction (Genesis 6:14-22)—when there is a problem, God has a solution; and the solution here is God’s instruction concerning the Ark.

So let’s begin here with I:  God’s grief.  (See slide on I. God’s Grief).  We learn in Genesis 6:6-7 that God began to sorrow.  He began to sorrow that He created man to begin with at all.  Why did God begin to sorrow?  Because there was a specific sin that was taking place in 6:1-4 that was followed by a general sin taking place in 6:5.

So notice, if you will, this specific sin.   (See slide on A. The Specific Sin 6:1-4)

We have:

  1. The Population (6:1)
  2. The Procreation, (6:2) [I hope you like the letter P]
  3. The Patience of God, (6:3)
  4. The Product of the sin (6:4)

And what we have walked into, what you have walked into, if you’re here for the first time, is probably one of the most difficult, one of the most debated verses in the entire Bible.  But notice, first of all, the population as we look at the specific sin that began to sorrow God’s heart.  Notice what it says there in 6:1.  It says, “Now it came about when men began to multiply on the face of the land,... [I think ‘land’ there is better translated ‘earth’]. “Now it came about when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them…”  What you have taking place there in 6:1 is a population explosion.  It says it very clearly in 6:1, “…when men began to multiply on the face of the earth.” 

Dr. Henry Morris shows that based on the long lives of these patriarchs [that we spent several weeks studying in Genesis 5] people were living into their nine hundreds, in some cases having children into their nine hundreds.  Given the amount of patriarchs who are mentioned here before the Flood, it’s very conceivable mathematically, and he is a credentialed scientist and provides the math on this in his Genesis commentary, that the world’s population reached about 7 billion people.

You say, ‘Well, that’s interesting. That’s the same rough level of population that we are approaching today.’  Henry Morris says this:  “The ancient quibble about ‘Cain’s wife’ [that’s the biggest objection liberals can throw at this.  ‘Well, where did Cain get his wife?’  ‘Well, I guess he had 7 billion people to pick from, or half of that, I guess.’]…  “The ancient quibble about Cain’s wife is thus seen to be quite trivial.  Long before Cain died, there was a large population in the earth. By the time of the Deluge, 1656 years after Creation [According to standard chronology] by the Ussher chronology, even using the above assumptions, the world’s population would have been at least [and this is on the conservative side] 7 billion people!”

Now, the population growth wasn’t the problem.  That’s not why God began to grieve.  God began to grieve because of a specific sin in 6:2,  so we move away from the Population to the Procreation.  And that is what 6:2 says, “…that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.”  Now, the ancient interpretation throughout church history of 6:2 and the verses that follow is simply this:  we’ve traced the Cainite line of wickedness, (Genesis 4) and the Sethite line of righteousness, (Genesis 5), and [then] believers and unbelievers began to intermarry with each other between those two lines.

So nothing to see here, folks.  Move right along.  No problem. The problem is, do you see the word Cain or Seth in Genesis 6?  I don’t see it.  Cain and Seth, the names were named very clearly in Genesis 5 and Genesis 4, but it doesn’t use either name; it uses this strange expression in Hebrew, Benei Elohim, which means sons of God.  There are probably three, and I’m not going to go over three, but at least two major views on this passage. (See slide on Alternative Views)  Some at the very top of the screen says, ‘Well, it’s just the two lines started to intermarry.’  Well, first of all, why would that produce Nephilim?  Why would God send a Flood because a believer and an unbeliever get married?  Doesn’t that happen today, sadly?  There’s no global Deluge when that happens; the parents might think it’s a deluge, but there’s no immediate judgment that covers the earth.  And it’s interesting that this particular view, the Seth Line-Cain Line view, according to Renald Showers, did not emerge in church history until the 4th century after the resurrection of Jesus.

(See slide on Renald Showers quote).  Showers says, “It is interesting to note that the Sethite Line-Cainite Line view does not begin until the 4th century AD.  This makes it the newest of the three major views.  The New Catholic Encyclopedia states that this view ‘that sees in these sons of God, the Sethites and in the daughters of men the Cainites dates from the 4th century and is influenced by theological concern for maintaining the spirituality of the Angels.’  [We’ve got to keep those angels pure so the angels can’t be involved here.  So this is just the two lines intermingling. Showers writes correctly], “This seems to imply that the major motivation for starting this view was not exegesis of Scripture, but opposition to the angel view…”  This is actually the Roman Catholic view going back just four centuries after the death of the Apostles.

(See slide on Alternative Views).  There is a completely different view of this, and it’s at the very bottom of the screen, and that’s the view that I believe in.  It’s the view I’m going to try to defend—not completely today, but into next week.  There’s something much more evil, hence the title of this message, “An Evil Strategy.”  There’s something much more nefarious happening here where not all, but some of the fallen angels began to actually procreate with human women.  From those unholy unions, you have the Nephilim that are described in 6:4.   I realize that what I am saying is very controversial.  If you look at this screen (See slide on Commentators who do and do not refer to Angels), you’ll see all of the commentators, a lot of them who you recognize and appreciate who say this passage has absolutely nothing to do with angels.  But on the right hand of the screen, you see a list of commentators that you also like and appreciate who say this has everything to do with angels.

In fact, if you were to go to a theological library and collect all of the commentaries on the book of Genesis, and put them in two stacks:  commentators that believe the Sethite-Canite view in one stack and the commentators that believe in the angel view in the other stack, at the end of the day you would have two equal stacks in terms of height.  So this is probably not a hill to die on; probably not something worth starting a new church.  ‘Yes, we’re the First Church of the Sethiteview or whatever.’  But it is a passage that you have to understand in order to grasp, I believe, the totality of the full counsel of God’s Word.

In fact, this angel view is actually the traditional view of Judaism going back before the time of Christ.  It was actually the traditional view of the church fathers just after the time of Christ.  So what does this second view, the angel view, not the Sethite-Canite view actually mean?   Well, it camps, per 6:2, on this expression, ‘sons of God.’   Look at 6:2 to see that expression.  Going down to 6:4, see it again:  the sons of God, benei Elohim.  That identical Hebrew expression is only found in the Bible five times, two of which are right here in our passage.  But it’s found three other times. And the only other book that mentions that expression is the book of Job. Job 1:6 says, “There was a day when the sons of God [benei Elohim] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.”  Now, clearly sons of God there means angels.  Why?  Because Satan was in the mix, and Satan himself, according to the book of Ezekiel 28:14,16 is an angel, a fallen angel; an angel of light as Paul calls him, but an angel nonetheless.  So Satan’s presence with the sons of God in the presence of God communicates from the book of Job that sons of God equals angels.  This expression is used a second time in the book of Job; in Job 2:1, it says, “Again there was a day when the sons of God, [that’s our phrase], came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan [an angel] also came among them to present himself before the Lord.”  Then it comes up a third time in the book of Job.  It’s in Job 38:7, where Job, who thinks he knows everything, and Job’s three counselors, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, and then another guy shows up late in the game named Elihu.  Job with these four—they think they know everything.  And God says, ‘You don’t know anything.’ ‘Well, how do we know, God, that we don’t know anything?‘  God says, ‘I want to give you a pop quiz. And I’m going to question you about things that happened before you were born in ancient past.’  And He begins talking about how God formed the heavens and the Earth, book of Genesis.  (See slide on Job 38:7)  And when God did that, the “morning stars sang together…”  Now, I don’t know of any singing stars, do you?   Literal stars, unless these stars are a synonym for angels, and it says there, ‘together and all the sons of God,’ that’s our expression.  In other words, sons of God equals these singing morning stars;  “…the sons of God shouted for joy?”

So three times in the book of Job, there’s no doubt about this:  sons of God equals angels.   Now, what’s very interesting is the book of Job is the very first book of the Bible ever written. It’s the very first book that God inspired.  In fact, the book of Job records things happening during the time period of the patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, a good six centuries at least, before Moses ever penned the book of Genesis.  So when Moses is writing here in Genesis 6 about the sons of God, he is drawing from the only book that was ‘on the books,’ so to speak, at this point:  the book of Job, and the book of Job always calls the sons of God angels.

What began to happen here in Genesis 6 is some of the fallen angels began to procreate with human women.  Now, why in the world would they do that?  It relates to Genesis 3:15.  God announced at the fall of Man, “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, but you shall bruise Him on the heel.” There’s coming one from the seed of the woman, Eve, who is going to take Satan’s head and crush it.  Now it’s very clear that when this Messiah comes, He will not just be fully God but fully Man.  Here’s a fancy word for this; I paid a lot of tuition money to learn fancy words, and no one will listen to me, so I have a captive audience here.  The fancy word for that is the hypostatic union.  It’s the idea that Jesus Christ, whose death, burial, resurrection and ascension we just celebrated at the Lord’s Supper, was the unique man God.  The unique God Man.  Well, do you believe Jesus was Man or God?  The answer is yes.  He was both.  At the point of the virgin conception, eternally existent Deity was joined to humanity.  This is what we call the incarnation.  Genesis 3:15 points that out by indicating that He, when He comes, must be fully Man in addition to being fully God because He’s coming from the seed of the woman.  Now, is it not interesting that children look like their parents?  You look at a kid, and I can’t use Sarah as an example today because she’s sitting right here.  So sorry about that.  But you look at a child, and you could see in that child that they look like their mom at certain points, and they look like their dad at certain points.

When these fallen angels began to procreate with human women, it was a satanic attempt to create a race of people that were genetically a mixture of human and angel.  That’s who the Nephilim per 6:4, the product of this unholy union, were.  Nephilim in Hebrew means fallen ones.  What is Satan doing here?  He is trying to create a race of people that aren’t fully human. Why would he do that?  So that Genesis 3:15, which indicates the Messiah when He comes, must be fully God and fully Man, can never be born.  If that happens, Satan wins.  He locks the human race into a permanent level of fallenness.  It’s a strategy that he used that’s insidious and evil right down to the mixture of the genetics of the human race.  Now, this is not the first time that Satan tried to prevent the birth of the Messiah as we saw in Genesis 4.  That was the whole reason why Cain murdered Abel.  Able’s sacrifice was accepted; Cain’s was rejected. Satan at that point reasoned that the Messiah is going to come through Abel’s line.  So when you factor in Genesis 3:12, which indicates that Satan, or the evil one, was in Cain’s thoughts, Satan is making his first attempt to prevent the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15.

One of the things to understand about Satan, in spite of his brilliance, is that his intellect has been darkened. He thinks he can stop God’s prophecies from occurring. He thinks he can prevent Jesus from being born.  And if that is the case, then he continues on as the ruler of this world.  That was round one.

(See slide on Satanic Attempts to Stop Messiah)

Now here we are at round two where the same thing is happening.  The strategy is different, though.  The first round was a murder.  The second round is a genetic tampering with humanity to prevent the incarnation, to prevent the hypostatic union because you’ve created a race of people that aren’t fully human.  They’re partly human, partly angelic.  When you start to understand this, you begin to understand why God dealt with this in global judgment.  God dealt with this in global judgment because Satan pushed the envelope too far.  And that’s what I think is happening there in 6:2.   But don’t panic, because as you move through the Bible, Satan loses every round.  Just when you think he’s winning, as only God can do, He snatches victory from the jaws of defeat.  Satan lost round one.  We learn here that he’s going to lose round two.  The reason he’s going to lose round two is because God is going to preserve, genetically, a man named Noah and his family in the Ark.  And from one of Noah’s sons, Shem, the genealogy, which has been protected, is going to continue, leading to Terah, leading to Abraham, ultimately leading to Jesus Christ.

That’s what is meant in Genesis 3:15 that He, the Messiah, when He comes, Satan, ‘shall bruise you on the head.  Now, you’re going to be able to bruise Him on the heel.  But He’s going to crush your head.’  Now, would you rather have your head crushed or your heel bruised?  I’ll take the heel because if my head is crushed, I’m dead.  The reference to the bruising of the heel is the reference to momentary damage that Satan is going to inflict along the way.  Despite the fact that Satan is pulling out all of the stops to prevent the birth of the Messiah, God keeps winning round after round after round after round until Jesus is finally born into our world to accomplish His mission of death, burial, resurrection and ascension.  But Satan is not going to take it lightly.  He’s not going to take it lying down.  He works in history to prevent the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. He changes the strategies from time to time, and here is a particularly insidious strategy that he’s using right down to genetic alteration of humanity. (see slide on Matthew 22:30)

Now, I warned you people that are here for the first time  this is not probably the sermon to get started on with us.  But when you teach the Bible verse by verse, you have to wrestle with these issues.  Now, a lot of people say, ‘Well, this this has a lot of problems, doesn’t it?  I mean, angels having a sexual relationship with human women.’  And it does have a lot of problems.  I taught a series here called Angelology, the doctrine of the angels, where I spent six lessons just on this issue.  So if you want to go deeper into this and get all the pros and cons and everything else, you could go to Lessons 29 through 34 in the last six lessons of our Angelology series, which was the Sunday school series I taught here.  Obviously, I can’t do all of that as I’m moving verse by verse, but for those of you that are interested, you can go there for greater defense.

But many, many people do not believe this view.  And one of their arguments is, ‘Well, angels don’t marry.’  And they’ll quote Matthew 22:30 (See slide), which says, “For in the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven.”  Notice what this verse says and what it doesn’t say.  It’s talking about the angels in heaven.  What we’re dealing with here is the demons below.   It’s interesting that it doesn’t say angels don’t have sex.  It says they don’t get married.  I mean, is it possible to have a sexual relationship with someone without being married to them?  Well, you answer that for me.  That happens all the time, doesn’t it?   So statements against angelic marriage, and it is speaking of angels in heaven, it is not dealing with the demons beneath heaven.  And you say, ‘Well, wait a minute, Pastor, just hold the phone here.  Aren’t angels spirits?  I mean, doesn’t the Book of Hebrews 1:14 say of angels, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?”’   ‘I mean, if they’re spirits, how could they have the body necessary to have a sexual relationship with a human woman?’  The answer to that is yes, angels are spirits, but they can take on human form, can’t they?  Hebrews 13:2 says, “Some of you have entertained angels unaware.”  How could you do that if an angel couldn’t take on human form?  And in fact, in this same book, the book of Genesis, eventually we’re going to get to Genesis 18:1-8 where Abraham is going to receive three visitors:  One of them is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in pre-incarnate form, accompanied by two angels.  But Abraham doesn’t know they’re angels.  So they visit, have a meal together.  He makes food for them.  They eat.  And then it says in Genesis 18:22, after they ate, “Then the men turned away from there and went towards Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD.”  I mean, for all Abraham knew, it was just two visitors and they have a meal together.  And then all of a sudden you get to Genesis 19:1, and it says, “Now when the angels came to Sodom.”  ‘You mean, those two people that showed up at my door with Jesus, a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus, that I thought were men, that I had a meal with, and I cooked for, and we ate together?  You mean to tell me that they were actually angels?’  Yes, Abraham.  That’s what God is telling you.  So even in Genesis itself, yes, angels are spirits, but clearly they have a capacity to take on human flesh.

Now, the fear when you begin talking like this is, ‘Oh, my goodness.  If that happened then, if demons had sexual relationship with human women resulting in procreation, resulting in the the birth of the fallen ones or the Nephilim or genetically altered people, then that could happen again, couldn’t it?‘  And that’s the scare.  I think this is largely why the Seth view and the Cain view was invented.  People say, ‘Well, my goodness, that’s just too radical to believe that. Because if it happened once in history, it could happen again.’ 

Well, it’s interesting; what happened to those fallen angels that were involved in this sin in Genesis 6:1-4?  They were jailed.  They were put into prison.  First Peter 3:19-20 connected with their sin in the days of Noah.  Second Peter 2:4-5 says the exact same thing.  They were jailed, put in eternal pits because of this sin.  The book of Jude 6-7 says the same thing.  So this is a reason why this particular situation could not be replicated today.  There is a defense factor.  The rest of the demons saw what happened to their buddies who were involved in leaving their natural state and getting mixed up in this sin.  They saw that they were dealt with immediately by God.  That keeps them in a state of deterrence where they don’t want to replicate the sin again.  I mean, why don’t I, when I drive home today, just walk into liquor stores and Winchell’s donuts and just take what I want without paying?  Well, I see what happens to people that do that.  They get thrown in jail.  Now, hopefully I don’t do that because I’m a Christian.  But there’s another motivation beyond it.  It’s punishment.  That’s what the demons saw in God dealing with the situation here.

If you can look at this chart here [see slide on Good Angels & Evil Angels], it’s a pretty good chart that gives you the angelic perspective.  How many angels are there?  Well, there’s 10,000 times 10,000 of them.  We know that a third of them per Revelation 12 were cast out of heaven because they originally revolted with Lucifer per Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14, etc., and the angels that revolted with Lucifer, a third of them are what we today call demons.  And it is very interesting that the world of the demonic is divided into two parts.  Some of the demons are in a state of incarceration—Jude 6-7; 2 Peter 2:4-5; 1 Peter 3:19-20—always connected with the days of Noah.  They’re in jail.  And yet, clearly some demons are free.

Does not the Bible say ‘we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and rulers of this dark world’?  What your New Testament is saying is that of the angels that revolted, some are in jail in a place called the Abyss, connected with the days of Noah, and some are free.  And if you don’t have angelology or the doctrine of angels in Genesis 6, you have no explanation as to why that is so. I’ve had people fight me tooth and nail on this angel view. And finally, when it gets to the point in the conversation when I could ask them a question—because usually what they’re trying to do is convince me they’re right, and I finally said, ‘Well, can I ask a question?  You’ve asked me 15 questions.  Can I ask you one?  Here’s my one question for you.’  Why is it that some demons are imprisoned and some are free?  And why is their imprisonment always connected with the days of Noah?  And you know what the answer is?  Three words.  Actually, four, one is a contraction. ‘I don’t know,’ which is what Spicoli said on Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  Not that I’m promoting that movie either.  That’s a terrible thing to say from the pulpit, isn’t it?  Maybe God’s going to put me in incarceration after that.  But the fact of the matter is, that’s what the Bible says.  And the only explanation you have as to why some are free that we wrestle with is something really insidious, something where some of them, under Satan’s power, left their natural abode and entered into this unholy union with human women.  That’s the only explanation for the difference in the demons:  some free; some in jail.  And according to Bible prophecy, these demons in jail are going to be released one day in what is called the Fifth Trumpet Judgment as described in Revelation 9:1-12.  In the events of the tribulation, they’re all coming out again to torture mankind for five months.  Sort of interesting how the whole Bible starts to fit together.  Why are some demons in this place called the Abyss?  Genesis 6 is your answer.  And the fact of the matter is there would be no need for Satan to try this trick again, because the whole point of it was to alter the genetics of the human race so that the Messiah, who must be fully man in addition to being fully God, can never be born.  Well, the last time I checked, 2000 years ago, Jesus has been born.  So why would Satan rehearse the whole strategy one more time in our era when it was completely and totally designed to prevent the birth of Christ, and now that the Messiah has been born, there’s no need to tamper with the genetics of the human race in that way.

If you want to know what the strategy of Satan is right now, it’s to destroy the nation of Israel and to wipe out every single physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from planet Earth.  Why would Satan do that?  Because it’s very clear, according to Matthew 23:37-39, that it’s the converted Jews in the Tribulation Period that are going to call Jesus back to the earth.  And He will return, Yeshua, to rescue them from the beast and start his thousand-year kingdom.  But a condition has to be met: a converted Israel calling Christ back to the earth.  Well Satan says, ‘I’ll fix that problem.  I’ll just get rid of all the Jews.’  That helps you understand the vicious evil of the Holocaust and the strategies throughout history to eradicate the Jewish people.

See, my point is that Satan is onto a different strategy.  He tried the genetic alteration of humanity to prevent the birth of Messiah.  He lost that round, and he’s moving on to different things now.  All wicked and evil, but different strategies.  In fact, if you want to see Satan’s past strategy to prevent the birth of Christ, with Genesis 6 being part of that strategy, just read Revelation 12:1-5.  But if you want to see the strategy that he’s using today to eradicate the Jewish people, read Revelation 12:6 through the end of the chapter.  It’s an amazing chapter in the sense that it gives us the two great strategies of Satan.

Now, look, if you will, at Genesis 6:3, and you see through all of this the Patience of God.  We’ve seen the Population, the Procreation, and now the divine Patience.  Look, if you will, at 6:3, “Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”  You see, what God was doing in the midst of all of this wickedness, His Spirit, He calls it ‘My Spirit was striving with man.’  What does that mean—striving with man?  It means contending with man; convicting man.  Trying to get man to change his thinking, which is what we call repentance.  And as God is my witness, that is exactly what the Holy Spirit is doing right now as I speak.

Jesus, in the upper room, said that the Holy Spirit has been doing this for 2000 years.  Jesus said in the upper room to His disciples just prior to His death, and He began to talk about His death, and they didn’t like what He said because He had been with them for three years.  They were all He knew.  He was their mentor.  He had revolutionized them.  And then He starts talking about how He’s going to die and how He’s leaving.   And that panicked the disciples.   But Jesus, in the upper room as He’s talking to these eleven, Judas having already left the room to betray Christ, says this, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; [It’s better for you if I go than if I stay] … for if I do not go away, the Helper [Greek Paraclete, the One who comes alongside to assist, the Holy Spirit] …if I do not go the Helper [paraklētos; Paraclete] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”   He begins to talk about the fact that after He leaves through His death, burial, resurrection and ascension to the Father’s right hand, that the Spirit of God is going to come into their hearts, which is something that they did not understand because when you go through the Old Testament, you discover that the Holy Spirit came upon people to do God’s will.  The Spirit of the Lord came upon David.  Here, He’s saying something completely different.  He’s saying that the Holy Spirit is coming into you.  See that in John 14:18-20.  ‘So I will be with you, but your body will be the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and I will be in you forever.  So now you’re going to have a situation where not just eleven of you can be intimate with Me.  Now, every child of God can be intimate with Me because I’ll live inside of you through the Holy Spirit.  And yet that won’t happen unless I go away.  So don’t push the panic button that I’m going away.’  And then He says in John 14:8, and He [that’s the Spirit]…when He comes, He will convict...[What does it say there?  He doesn’t say convict the elect, does He?  He says, ‘I’ll “convict the [whole] world’”—that is believers and unbelievers.  When He comes, the Spirit will convict the world, just like the Spirit of God was convicting the world in the days of Noah, through striving with man]… When He comes, He will convict the world of three things concerning:

(1) sin;

(2) righteousness;

(3) judgment.

Every single human being today is under conviction.  The ones that don’t know Christ especially are under conviction of three sins that they’re right now committing against God.  Sin, (singular), righteousness, and judgment.  And I’m so glad I don’t stop there because each is explained in the subsequent verses.  What does He mean by convict the world of sin?  He defines it in John 16:9 concerning sin, “…because they do not believe in Me.”

What is the Holy Spirit doing in the lives of your unsaved family members, coworkers, friends and relatives as I speak? He is not convicting them of pornography. Or gambling. Or drunkenness.  He is convicting them of a certain sin that they are now committing against God. And that sin is unbelief, which is the only sin that sends a person into the lake of fire.  People are not sent into the lake of fire because they didn’t vote for the right party; they don’t dress right; they use too many foul words.  They go into the lake of fire because they die in a state of unbelief.  That’s what the Holy Spirit is bothering every single human being about as I speak.  He’s been doing it for 2000 years.

He’s also bothering them about a lack of righteousness. “…concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me.”  In other words, they don’t have the transferred righteousness of Jesus.  They have a religion, they have a lot of good works, but the righteousness of Christ has never been transferred to them, imputed to them at the point of faith alone.  And so because they don’t have the transferred righteousness of Christ, they’ve got to stand before the Lord one day in their own righteousness.  Lots of luck with that one.

And He’s also convicting them concerning “judgment” because the ruler of this world has been judged, the ruler of this world has been cast out.  Satan is on a losing trajectory.  He’s defeated.  He’s not abolished yet.  He’s defeated.  He’s going down.  And if you die in this state, you’re going down with him.

The late Lewis Sperry Chafer called this true evangelism.  He wrote a whole book called True Evangelism.  What is true evangelism?  It’s evangelizing people on the very things that God is convicting them of.  God is not trying to morally reform non-Christians.  Now, presumably when they become Christians and the Holy Spirit comes inside of them, the Holy Spirit will start to convict them of other sins.  But that is not what God is doing with unbelievers as I speak.  He’s only convicting them over and over again of three things:  sin, righteousness and judgment.  Sin because they don’t believe in Jesus; righteousness because they don’t have the transferred righteousness of Jesus Christ, and judgment because they’re on the losing side.

So when the Holy Spirit places in front of you the opportunity to evangelize the lost, don’t go on a rabbit trail talking about how to vote or how to be morally reformed, or what denomination you’re a part of.  The Holy Spirit doesn’t even care about that at this point.  Talk to them about the three things that they’re already under conviction for.  That way, your evangelistic agenda is cooperating with what God is already doing to them on the outside.  Now you’re doing true evangelism because you’re speaking to them about the things that God is already speaking to them about.

Talk to them about unbelief.  They’ll listen to you on that.  If they don’t listen, they’re in a state of denial.  But they already know that they don’t believe.  Talk to them about how they need a righteousness standard higher than their own—one that’s perfect.  They are already under conviction about that.  And you tell them that they’re on the losing side of history because Satan, the one that they’re following, has already been cast out.  See, true evangelism—focusing on the things that God is focused on, and then you start seeing fruit in your evangelism because you’re talking about things that they’re already under conviction for.

Most evangelistic models don’t even acknowledge John, 16:7-11.  They’ve got all of this verbiage that has nothing to do with what God is already bothering unbelievers about.  So use the language that the Bible uses here, and watch what God does with your evangelistic efforts. They’ll take on a different dimension.  You’ll probably see fruit in them that you’ve never seen before.  So in a similar way, just as the Spirit was and is striving with man today, the Spirit was striving with man prior to the flood in the midst of unspeakable sin.  Notice how long this striving went on.  It says, “…nevertheless his days will be one hundred and twenty years” of striving.  That’s a long time.  That is about, if I’m interpreting this correctly, a little over double the national length [age] of the United States of America.  That’s how long the Holy Spirit worked and persuaded and strove and convicted with people, trying to get them to change their ways.

There is a truth in the Bible of coming judgment.  But before God sends judgment, God sends grace. That’s what’s happening here in Genesis 6:3.  It is grace before judgment.  It is the opportunity to get right with God.  John 16:7-11, ‘When the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment…’  Not sins.  Not moral reformation, but sin.  Sin. Singular sin.  Unbelief.  The Spirit is striving with man today because judgment is coming, but before God brings judgment, He dispenses grace.  Aren’t you glad about that relative to God?

That’s why in the previous chapter, we ran into a man named Methuselah whose name in Hebrew means ‘when he dies, it shall be sent,‘ referring to the Flood.  When he dies, the Flood’s going to come.  And it’s no accident that Methuselah is the oldest living man ever recorded in history.  He lived 969 years.  It shows that God attached judgment to the death of a man who lived the longest that’s ever lived.  Does that not show us the mercy of God; the forbearance of God; the long suffering of God?  Before God sent the Israelis into Canaan to eradicate the Canaanites, God gave the Canaanites 400 years to repent, Genesis 15:16.   First Timothy 2:4 says of God, “He desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”  Second Peter 3:8-9 says ‘We did not let this one fact escape your notice, Beloved, that with the Lord a day is 1000 years and 1000 years is as one day.  The Lord is not slow about His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you not wishing any to perish but for all to come to repentance.’  Ezekiel 18:23,32 says, ‘God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.‘

Rather, what pleases God is they might turn from their wicked way and live.  Boy, if God is that longsuffering, then why am I, as one of His people, so short-fused with people?  Why am I so short-tempered?  Why is it that when I perceive an injustice committed against me, I am the first person to want to give that person a piece of my mind?  Why am I so upset when I’m cut off on the freeway?  Why am I so upset when I don’t get my way?  The answer is that we’re not Christ-like.  God is not that way.  God is patient.  But the fruit of the spirit per Galatians 5:22-23 is “…love, joy, peace…[what’s the next word? I can’t even pronounce it]… patience… [Wow. God, give me patience and give it to me right now] …kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Read a text like this about the striving of God, the patience of God, and you’re less quick to just give up on people.  ‘Oh, so-and-so will never come to Christ.  I evangelize them.  They don’t care. They’re on their way to hell.’  Really?  How do you know that?  How do you know that God does not have them under deep conviction even as you are speaking to them?  ‘Well, they acted angrily towards me.‘  That’s good because when someone gets upset, that means they’re under conviction.

There was a man named Saul of Tarsus who was visibly angry with Stephen when he preached his sermon against unbelieving Israel in Acts 7.  Saul of Tarsus was so mad he set out to not only be responsible for the martyrdom of Stephen, but to stamp Christianity out completely.  And yet who did Saul of Tarsus become—that angry man?  He became Paul.  If someone is losing their temper with you for evangelizing them, that shows you, as any pilot who has flown in the military will tell you, that means you’re over the target.  I mean, if they’re mad and upset at you, hey, come on over to my office sometime; I’ll show you my emails that I get from people.  I get some of the most vitriolic… It’s sort of stunning.  I’m such a nice guy, ask my wife…I mean, some of the most vitriolic emails you could ever get.  Why?  Because I’m on the Internet teaching the Bible.  I didn’t know that was such a problem.  I thought this was a free country.  If you don’t like it, turn your computer off.  Why are they upset?   Why are they angry?  Because I’m over the target.  Now it’s the person that says, ‘Well, I’m glad you found [they’re very calm] enlightenment in your guru, Jesus.  But I’m happy with mine.’  And they just go through life not upset at all.  That’s the person you need to worry about.  Because they’re not under conviction, I believe, the way the Lord wants to place them under conviction.

But what does He say here, and we’ll end with this?  “…Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever,...”  They got there before the Flood 120 years of striving and conviction as unspeakable depravity was taking place prior to the Flood as Noah was building the ark.  Could you imagine how ridiculous Noah looked building this giant contraption in his driveway when this crowd didn’t even know what rain was (Genesis 2:5-6)?  Noah didn’t even know what rain was.  He had to walk completely by faith on the promises of God.  That’s why Noah deservedly is in the Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11.  So this grace period is unfolding.  God is striving.  But here’s here’s what God says, ‘It’s not going to go on forever.  It’ll go on 120 years, but not forever.’ Because eventually humanity reaches its breaking point in sin, where even the patience of God Himself gets exhausted.  And God says, ‘That’s it.  Judgment is coming.’  Jesus said in John 16:7-11, ‘It is to your advantage that I go away, because if I go away, the Spirit of God will come.’   “And He, when He comes, [the Spirit of God, the Paraclete] , “…will convict the [whole] world of sin, righteousness and judgment;…”  But—it won’t go on forever.

The deception that we’re lulled into is thinking that because we’re in a season now where we’re enjoying the grace of God, that this season will go on forever.  And the Bible says it won’t.  You know, it was last year around this time that all of this covid insanity started to break out.  And yet, if I had stood up in this pulpit last year at this time and predicted everything that would happen in our country, you would think I was crazy.  And look how fast everything changed. Never think that somehow the patience of God is something that continues forever.  Things can change very quickly.  “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever.“  That’s why the Bible says, I believe it’s in 2 Corinthians 6:2, ‘[Today]’ “now is the day of salvation.

If you’re under a conviction for sin, righteousness and judgment, you are under that conviction because the Bible says that you would be put under it if you’re an unbeliever.  I was put under it.  If you’re under that conviction, why would you gamble with your future and put a decision like this off?  The logical, normal thing to do is to respond to that convicting ministry by responding to Jesus.  The only way to respond to Jesus is to not commit the sin that he’s convicting you of, which is unbeliefthe only sin that will send you into hell.  Unbelief.  Fix it. Believe.  Trust in what Jesus has done for you.  Don’t trust in yourself, your denomination, your own religion, your works, your ability to be a good person.  The fact of the matter is, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  

Yet the answer is available in the person of Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice we pictorially celebrated earlier today, did we not?  The fact of the matter is Jesus did it all to bridge the gap between sinful humanity and a holy God, and He will only accept one condition to be made right with Him—that’s the transfer from unbelief to belief.  Belief means trust.  Trust in Him.  You don’t have to walk an aisle, join a church to to do this.  It’s a matter of conviction and privacy between you and the Lord, where you trust in Christ by Himself for the safekeeping of your soul. And God loves you so much that not only did He come into the world to accomplish this for you as the second member of the Godhead, but now the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Godhead is dispatched into the world to bother you enough, for you to do this.

And so it’s a it’s a beautiful picture of salvation that God has for all people.  It was there in the days of Noah, and it’s there today.  But don’t assume it’s going to be there tomorrow.  I hope it is; I pray it is.  ButMy Spirit,“ God says, “will not strive with man forever.”

You can receive Christ just where you’re seated.  If people are listening online, they can receive Christ just where they are.  If people are listening to this by way of archive years after the fact, they can receive Christ.  Don’t hold out for a better offer.  You’re not going to get one.  And if it’s something that you need more information on, I’m available after the service to talk.

But next week we continue with this passage picking it up at Genesis 6:4, where we’re going to begin talking about the Nephilim.

So let’s pray.  Father, we’re grateful for this ancient truth.  We’re grateful for Your Word.  We’re grateful for how it speaks directly into our lives.  We’re grateful for the grace that you extended prior to the Flood.  And we’re grateful for the grace today.  We just pray today that there would be many who would receive it.  We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said…