There are many wonderful institutions that have been started by men and women throughout history. Many institutions have noble causes, impressive mission statements, and notable achievements. However, there are only three institutions that have commenced under the express authority and plan of Almighty God. The foundation and purpose of each of these institutions is found in the Bible.

These three God-ordained institutions are the home, the government, and the church. They were instituted in that order. They each have a divine purpose, and many troubles begin to develop when they ignore their stated purpose. Troubles also arise when one of these institutions tries to take on the clearly-stated responsibilities of one of the other institutions. Satan has been very successful in America at jumbling the responsibilities of the home, the government, and the church. The result has been a staggering failure on the part of all three institutions. There is not room in this space to adequately address every aspect of the home, the government, and the church, but it is important to understand the primary purpose of each institution.

The home – God established the home almost immediately following the creation of the universe and it is the building block of any functioning civilization. Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” There are many portions of God’s Word which address the purpose and practices of the home, but a concise mission statement is found in Deuteronomy 6:6,7 which says, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children . . .” A key word in the mission statement of the home is the word “teach.”

The government – God established civil government shortly after Noah and his family exited the Ark after the worldwide flood. The first responsibility given to civil government is found in Genesis 9:6 which says, “Whoseover sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” The establishment of capital punishment is a sober and heavy responsibility. It establishes a primary purpose of government as the protection of its citizens, beginning with the protection of the foundational right to life as a gift from God.

The church – God established the church with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone and the apostles as its foundation. Ephesians 2:20 describes the church as being “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” The mission statement of the church is found in Matthew 28:19,20 which says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Again, a primary focus of this institution is to “teach.”

The Rev. Timothy Benefield is pastor of Golden Valley Baptist Church. Sermon notes is a column by local religious leaders.

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