Participants: David Down
Series Code: DUTP
Program Code: DUTP000009
00:01 In this program we discuss the question, Who is God?
00:05 When we look at the flowers, and birds, and the stars,
00:08 and our own marvelous bodies and minds, surely we must conclude
00:12 that there is a God.
00:14 But who is God?
00:16 Where is He, and what's He like?
00:18 Well, what does the Bible teach?
00:20 David has given us plenty of evidence that the Bible is a
00:24 book that God's inspired.
00:25 So what does God tell us about Himself?
00:29 Well, to answer that question we go next to Jerash.
01:04 This is the gateway to Jerash, the best preserved Roman ruins
01:09 in the Middle East.
01:10 Jerash was one of the ten cities of the Decapolis.
01:14 The word Decapolis means ten cities.
01:16 This was one of the prominent cities.
01:18 The gateway that you see behind me was built to commemorate the
01:23 visit of the Emperor Hadrian in the year 129 A.D.
01:28 In fact he spent a whole winter here.
01:30 An inscription around the back of the gateway tells us that it
01:34 was built and dedicated by a man by the name of Flavius Agrippa.
01:42 This is the Roman forum of Jerash.
01:45 It's quite a spectacular place; these beautiful big columns here
01:49 and behind this were shops.
01:52 The forum, you know, was where all the city activities used
01:55 to place; where the city fathers met together and deliberated.
01:59 If anyone had something to say, well this is where he came
02:02 to say it.
02:03 So this was a hive of activity.
02:06 Now a very remarkable thing about these pillars is that they
02:11 are built on a very thick wall.
02:13 That wall goes down ten meters.
02:17 You see, they didn't want their beautiful colonnade to
02:21 topple over.
02:22 And from here leads the main street of Jerash.
02:30 And what a beautiful street this was!
02:33 These great big limestone pillars here; do you know there
02:36 were 260 of them on each side of the street?
02:40 There were shops out there.
02:42 It was a real shopping plaza, you know, fashionable center.
02:44 This place was very well drained.
02:47 There's a drainage system running right along underneath.
02:49 In fact you can see here one of the man holes.
02:52 These could be removed and somebody could go down there
02:55 and crawl along underneath, and clean it out if there
02:58 was any blockage.
03:03 Chariots used to rumble along this street.
03:05 You can still see the rub marks.
03:07 See them here?
03:08 And if you think that traffic roundabouts are anything new,
03:12 well, think again, because at the intersection along there
03:15 of the roads they had one.
03:23 This is known as the nymphaeum because there were statues of
03:27 nymphs in the alcoves up there.
03:29 It must have been a beautiful sight.
03:32 Water gushed out of these holes that you can see, onto the
03:36 platform here, and down into this basin.
03:39 From here there were some carved lions.
03:41 The water came out of their mouths.
03:43 They are one of the beauty spots of the city of Jerash.
04:03 The Romans did not neglect the worship of the gods.
04:07 Over there was the temple of Zeus and here was the temple
04:11 of Artemis.
04:12 You know the goddess mentioned in the book of Acts in the Bible
04:16 as Diana of the Ephesians.
04:18 All of the Ephesians started shouting, Great is Diana
04:21 of the Ephesians.
04:22 Well, this was Artemis, and this is the very fine temple that
04:27 was devoted to her.
04:32 The Romans had to have their entertainment, of course.
04:35 This is one of two theaters in Jerash, and it's quite
04:39 a big one.
04:40 It holds four thousand people, and you could even
04:42 reserve your seats.
04:44 Down the front there are some Greek letters so that you could
04:48 identify which seat you'd reserved.
04:50 The acoustics in this place are marvelous.
04:53 You can just stand here and whisper and you'll hear it right
04:56 up on the top row.
05:22 Very early in the peace Christianity came to Jerash.
05:25 By the fourth century there was a very strong Christian
05:30 community here.
05:31 By the fifth century it had become the ruling religion.
05:34 In the sixth century there were no less than seven churches
05:37 built here.
05:38 But, of course, when the Muslims came they were very much opposed
05:43 to idols, or pictures, and they demolished a lot of the
05:48 beautiful mosaics.
05:49 This one escaped because it was partially buried by the time the
05:54 Muslims got here.
05:57 Well I suppose you're wondering what all this has to do with the
06:01 question, Who is God?
06:02 And, I suppose, that's a fair enough question.
06:06 Well, it is just possible that it was here in Jerash that
06:11 a Biblical parable was enacted.
06:14 Do you remember the story that Jesus Christ told of the
06:18 prodigal son?
06:19 Everyone's heard of the prodigal son.
06:21 The story was that there were two sons, and one of them came
06:25 to his father and said, Father, I want my share of the property.
06:30 So the father, being a very understanding father,
06:34 allowed him to have half of the property.
06:35 A few days later he picked up and left.
06:39 The Bible says he went to a far country.
06:42 Now we don't know where that far country was, but who knows,
06:45 it could have been right here in Jerash.
06:47 In which case, this is where he spent all his money.
06:51 This is where he went to all the entertainments, the brothels,
06:55 and pretty soon got rid of all his money.
06:59 But, of course, the time came when his money was all gone,
07:03 and with the money gone, so were the friends.
07:06 That's when he was obliged to go and get a job, and he finished
07:10 up just feeding pigs.
07:11 For a Jew; feeding pigs!
07:13 What a job!
07:14 Finally he said to himself, Well listen, this is a fools game.
07:17 My fathers hired servants are better off than I.
07:21 I'll go to my father and say to him, Father, I have sinned
07:25 against heaven, and against you.
07:27 I'm no more worthy to be called your son.
07:29 Just make me one of your hired servants.
07:31 Having made the decision, he packed up and went home.
07:34 Well, his father saw him coming afar off.
07:37 Father was looking for him, you know.
07:38 That tells you something about God.
07:40 When he saw his son coming he was just so thrilled.
07:43 He ran forward, fell on his neck, and kissed him,
07:46 embraced him, and called for the servants to bring forth
07:49 a good robe and put it on him.
07:51 The boy muttered out his words, you know, Father I've sinned
07:53 against heaven and against you.
07:55 I'm no longer worthy to be called your son.
07:57 But the father didn't want that.
07:59 He said, You are my son.
08:01 The son who was lost has returned.
08:04 So he clothed him with a beautiful garment and restored
08:08 him fully to the position of a son.
08:11 That tells you something about God, doesn't it?
08:15 To me God is very real.
08:17 I think He can be real to anyone because God is real.
08:22 What does the Bible teach about the nature of God?
08:26 It says in Matthew 28:19, Go therefore and make disciples
08:30 of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,
08:34 and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit...
08:37 Now that mentions three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
08:41 sometimes referred to as the Trinity.
08:43 Some people say, Oh, this is where I get lost.
08:46 You know, the Trinity, you just can't fathom it.
08:48 I don't see any problem.
08:49 What does it mean by three in one?
08:51 Well, Jesus made it plain in John 17:11 when He said,
08:56 I come to you, Holy Father, keep through your name those
09:01 whom you have given me, that they may be one, as we are.
09:06 Now, you and I are two separate persons, aren't we?
09:09 And yet we can be one; perfectly united in thought,
09:13 in motivation, and in character.
09:16 And that's the way it is with God.
09:18 There are three distinct persons, but these three persons
09:22 are so perfectly united that they are one.
09:25 Not like the Hindu gods, or the Greek gods; always fighting
09:27 against each other, at cross purposes with each other.
09:30 No, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are perfectly united.
09:36 Now, does that mean then that God is not a Spirit,
09:41 or He is a Spirit?
09:42 Jesus said, God is a Spirit.
09:44 Yeah, sure!
09:45 But you see there is the person of the Father, there is the Son,
09:49 a separate person.
09:50 It says when Jesus ascended up to heaven He sat on the right
09:53 hand of the Father.
09:54 But there is also the Holy Spirit, who is present
09:57 everywhere in the Universe.
09:59 Now God has a real dwelling place.
10:02 I'm not talking about the Spirit, which is everywhere,
10:04 but the person of God Himself.
10:07 You know, when Solomon was praying in 1 Kings 8:30 he says,
10:13 May you hear the supplication of your servant, and of your people
10:18 Israel, when they pray toward this place: then hear in heaven
10:22 your dwelling place: and when you hear, forgive.
10:26 So God has a real dwelling place.
10:29 I think it's just as solid and real as the ground on which I am
10:33 standing at the present time.
10:35 So God is a real person, and heaven is a real place,
10:38 but by His Spirit He can be present everywhere.
10:44 Now God is likened to a father, not because God is male or
10:49 female, but simply because that is His nature.
10:52 Jesus taught us to pray, Our Father, which art in heaven...
10:56 So much for the Father.
10:58 What about the Son?
10:59 I want to tell you something you might not know.
11:01 That is revealed in John 1:1-3.
11:05 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
11:10 and the Word was God.
11:12 He was in the beginning with God.
11:14 All things were made through him; and without him nothing
11:19 was made that was made.
11:21 Now it's talking about Jesus because over here in verse 14
11:25 it says, And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us,...
11:30 Don't get the idea that when Jesus was born in Bethlehem that
11:33 was the beginning of His existence.
11:35 Oh, no!
11:36 Jesus existed from all eternity.
11:39 He was one of the three persons of the Godhead.
11:42 From all eternity He was one with the Father.
11:45 It was through Him, Christ, that the world was created.
11:49 It is through Him that the world is upheld today.
11:54 And so He, God, became flesh and dwelt among us,
12:00 and He lived a man.
12:01 What an amazing condensation for the Creator to come down to
12:05 this world and be born as a little baby in Bethlehem,
12:07 and live a life on this world for thirty years,
12:10 and then enter upon His ministry.
12:13 After 31/2 years He was crucified.
12:16 He suffered a cruel death on the cross.
12:20 To take our place as sinners.
12:22 You see we've all done wrong.
12:23 We've all gone astray.
12:24 We all deserve to be punished, but we don't need to have any
12:28 sense of burden of guilt.
12:30 You know there's some people that have got some very heavy
12:32 burdens in this world.
12:33 We saw this man, for instance, in Jerusalem staggering along
12:37 carrying a refrigerator on his back.
12:40 There are some people who are carrying a heavier burden
12:43 than that; the burden of guilt, the burden of shame,
12:47 a sense of wrong, and they feel that they are unworthy.
12:50 Well, Jesus says in Matthew 11: 28, Come unto me all you that
12:58 labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
13:01 You see, He says to us, I've paid it.
13:04 I've paid the penalty for your sins.
13:06 So He throws His garment of righteousness about us,
13:09 just like the Father did to the prodigal, and we stand before
13:14 God in those beautiful garments of Christ's righteousness
13:17 just as if we'd never sinned.
13:18 That's why the Bible tells us to come boldly before the throne
13:23 of grace in prayer, because we can come clothed in Christ's
13:27 righteousness, and stand before Him fully accepted
13:31 as His children.
13:34 Well, something happened in Jerusalem that illustrates this
13:37 point that God does something for us that we don't
13:40 really deserve.
13:50 One early morning Jesus came to the temple and began to teach
13:54 the people, and they crowded in to hear His wonderful
13:56 words of life.
13:57 But right in the middle of His teaching the Pharisees arrived,
14:02 dragging a reluctant woman, and standing her right
14:04 in front of Him.
14:05 They piously said, Master, we found this woman
14:10 committing adultery; caught her in the very act.
14:12 Now Moses in his law said that such should be stoned,
14:17 but what do you say?
14:18 Now, you see, these fellows knew how ask some hard questions.
14:22 It was a loaded question, you see.
14:24 They thought they had Jesus trapped.
14:25 If Jesus had said, Well, okay, take her out and stone her
14:29 as Moses said, they would have immediately gone running off
14:32 to the Romans saying, He's usurping Roman authority.
14:35 On the other hand, if Jesus had said, No, don't stone her,
14:40 they would have turned to the people and said,
14:43 There you are; you see?
14:44 He does not uphold the law of Moses.
14:47 So they thought they had Jesus cornered.
14:50 Well, what did Jesus do about it?
14:52 He didn't say a thing!
14:53 He just knelt down and He began to write in the dust
14:59 on the temple floor.
15:06 And then He looked up and He said to them, He that is without
15:12 sin, let him cast the first stone.
15:15 I can just imagine the woman when Jesus said that, hearing
15:20 for herself a death sentence, and covering her face in anguish
15:24 and fear, dreading the first stone striking.
15:30 But Jesus knelt down again and He continued to write,
15:40 and one by one those pious hypocrites came and looked over
15:44 His shoulder.
15:46 They saw Him writing there sins which they had committed,
15:50 that they thought nobody else knew about.
15:52 One by one they decided it was time to leave.
15:55 So at last Jesus stood up and He said to the cowering woman,
16:02 Woman, where are your accusers?
16:06 Has no man condemned you?
16:08 And it was then, probably for the first time, that the woman
16:13 looked around and there was nobody there.
16:17 She said, No man condemns me, Lord.
16:21 Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you.
16:26 Go and sin no more.
16:29 I think that's probably where this poor repentant woman
16:34 flung herself at Jesus' feet and sobbed out her repentance,
16:38 and the forgiveness Jesus was offering her.
16:43 Have you done something wrong?
16:47 Have you done something you're sorry for?
16:50 Why don't you just come and fling yourself at Jesus' feet
16:53 and say, Lord I'm sorry?
16:55 You'll hear the very same words: Neither do I condemn you.
17:00 Go and sin no more.
17:02 That's the sort of God He is.
17:06 We travel right around the world in our next program to answer
17:09 the question, Where did the world come from?
17:11 Did it all take millions of years?
17:13 Are we related to monkeys?
17:15 How did it all happen?
17:16 David will be talking to some scientists in our next program
17:20 to get some answers to these questions.