Acceptable worship demands that God be known—worship cannot occur where the true God is not believed in, adored, and obeyed. The object of our worship must be right if our worship is to be acceptable. We must consider the God we worship.
Paul’s experience with the religious philosophers on Mars Hill in Acts 17 brought him into a classic confrontation with a case of unacceptable worship. The Greeks had an altar “to an unknown god.” Paul used that idol as a starting point to preach to them about worshiping the true God. In essence he told them, “You are worshiping in ignorance. Let me tell you about this unknown God. He can be known. It does no good at all to guess about who He is or how to worship Him.”
God has so clearly revealed Himself to us in His Word and through His Son that man is without excuse if he persists in unbelief. Faith, then—and more specifically, faith in God as He has revealed Himself to us—is the fundamental requirement for true worship. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
That verse states two facts about God—that He exists, and that it is possible to know something of His nature. It suggests that the true worshiper must have those two issues settled in his mind.
Though he was incurably skeptical of all religion, historian Will Durant struggled with the futility of every worldview that leaves God out. He wrote, “The greatest question of our time is not Communism versus individualism. It is not Europe versus America. It is not even the east versus the west. It is whether man can bear to live without God.”  Will Durant, On the Meaning of Life (New York, NY: Ray Long & Richard R. Smith, Inc., 1932), 23. Even as an avowed atheist, he understood that the major issue in all of life is the reality of God.
Did Man Create God?
Skeptics say that Christians have simply invented God. Religion, they claim, has devised supernatural explanations for what men do not understand, and there really is no supernatural reality—God is a human creation.
Sigmund Freud, for example, said that man made God. That, of course, is the reversal of what the Bible says: that God created man. Freud said in his book The Future of an Illusion, that because man desperately needs security, because he has deep–seated fears, and because he lives in a threatening world in which he has very little control over his circumstances, he invented God to meet his psychological needs. Man feels the need for an invisible means of support, but there is no God except in man’s imagination, says Freud.
That idea was spawned out of a corrupt mind. It is totally indefensible, and yet myriads of people have believed it. It demonstrates a simplistic, ignorant view of the world’s religions. When the human mind manufactures a god, it is rarely a saving, delivering god. The gods invented by humans don’t become psychologically supportive; they are oppressive gods who continually have to be appeased. When a woman in India throws her baby into the Ganges River to drown, in hopes of appeasing some god, she does not see that god as someone to deliver her from her problems. Her god is a fearful ogre. Indeed, false gods are man’s invention, but they are not like the true God, and in no way do they negate the reality of the true God.
Man has not made God—in fact, if man had his way, he would prefer that the God of the Bible did not exist. The unregenerate mind is God’s would–be murderer. It is “hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so” (Romans 8:7). Therefore, every fallen sinner does his best to eliminate the true God. He invents false gods. He postulates theology that says God is dead. He devises philosophies and lifestyles that assert that the very idea of a God is ludicrous.
The majority of people deny God’s existence one way or the other. Many who are not philosophical atheists are practical atheists. Although they do not reject the concept of God, they live as if He didn’t exist. Titus 1:16 describes such people: “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”
That has been the norm since Adam and Eve. Immediately after they sinned, they hid themselves from God. They tried to act as if God didn’t exist, and mankind has followed that same pattern throughout history. Romans 1 tells us that men know in their hearts God exists. Verse 19 says, “That which is known about God is evident within them.” Verse 20 says, “Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen.” Verse 21 says, “They knew God.” And verse 28 says, “They did not see fit to acknowledge God.”
Freud is wrong. Man has not invented God. Man suppresses his knowledge of God through unrighteous behavior (Romans 1:18) in a vain attempt to silence the truth he already knows. Man would wish God out of existence, if he had his way. They ignore the many compelling proofs God has given us of Himself through His creation and within our reasoning powers. And we’ll consider those next time.
(Adapted from Worship)