Highland Missionary Baptist Church

2620 N.E. 15th Street   Gainesville, FL 32609   (352) 373-2138

"Reaching For Higher Ground"

A Word From Our Pastor

We are very grateful God has sent you to our website and on behalf of the whole congregation , WELCOME. It is our prayer that you will come worship with us and your time with us will be biblically enriching, spiritually encouraging and most of all life changing through the preaching of God's Word and the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Highland Missionry Baptist Church was born on the second Sunday of September 1968 when a small group of people assembled and entered into a sacred covenant, vowing to God that they would faithfully obey His command to " Go, evangelize, baptize, and disciple" the people of our community and beyond. Since that day by the grace of God , we are still here earnestly contending for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. Over the years thousands of sermons have been preached and Bible lessons taught. Many souls have repented of sin, believed the Gospel and embraced Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Missionaries have been sent and supported prayerfully and financially. A multitude of prayers have been offered and many tears shed for the cause of Christ. The people in this church love God and are as determined as those saints who went before them to be faithful to God's call. With that as our motivation we contnue to stand unified in our resolve to passionately follow Christ, for "He only is our rock and our salvation. He is our defense and we shall not be greatly moved ." Psalm 62:2.

Again, we welcome you to our services . We will be blessed by your presence, and I know God will be pleased.

Pastor Rick Hartmann

Our Church Covenant

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God,His angels and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.

We resolve, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to glorify and faithfully serve God the Father after the standards set forth by Jesus Christ His Son as declared in His Holy Word; to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge and holiness; to give it a prominent place in our affections, prayers and service; to promote and sustain its worship, ordinances, doctrines and discipline; to contribute faithfully and cheerfully to the support of the ministry, advancement of the gospel to our community and the world, relief of the poor, and expenses of the church.

We commit to be faithful in our attendance of all church meetings,"not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more as we see the day approaching." We also acknowledge the divine emphasis and gospel significance of the ordinances and are committed to participate in baptisms and Lord's Supper services as instructed by our Lord.

We are committed to the discipleship of ourselves and our families, and resolve to give diligence to the reading, study and meditation of God's Word; to train up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. To enhance this commitment, we further resolve to attend and engage our families in the regularly scheduled church Bible studies.
We commit ourselves to actively engage in the Lord's work of evangelism; to pray for and seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances.

We commit to maintain Christ-like behavior and speech in the world; to refrain from the consumption, sale and distribution of intoxicating beverages, illicit drugs and substances; to cultivate Christian courtesy by demonstrating grace, love and kindness to all people; to be just in our business activities with our fellow man, being faithful to our vows and honorable in paying our debts, always striving to exemplify and commend our holy faith with honesty, integrity and a pure heart.

We are committed to strong biblical marriages and families, and intend to direct our homes according to God's pattern; each family member submitting to the others in the fear of the Lord; Husbands loving and honoring their wives as Christ loves His bride, the church, wives respecting and submitting to the leadership of their husbands as Christ submits to the leadership of the Father and children obeying their parents as Christ, the Son of God, obeys God the Father.

We, recognizing the Holy Spirit's leadership through the corporate membership of the church,commit to attend all conferences as an active participant in the governance of the church, honoring and submitting to the will of the majority in a Christ-like attitude.

We commit to watch over, encourage and exhort one another in brotherly love, never intentionally giving our brother a cause to stumble spiritually; to faithfully pray for and minister to one another with Christ-like sympathy in sickness, distress or need, bearing one another's burdens and fulfilling the law of Christ (Galations 6:2). We further commit to rejoice with and share in one another's honors and blessings, acknowledging them as gifts from God, not only to the one honored but to the whole body (1 Corinthians 12:26); to be slow to anger or take offence, and to be always ready for reconciliation, being mindful to secure it without delay (Matthew 18:15-20).

We resolve that throughout this life, regardless of our circumstances, in good times or bad, in prosperity or adversity, to honor God, who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light, and to live for his glory.

Finally, we resolve that when we depart from this community and are no longer able to assemble with this body we will, as soon as possible, unite with a church of like faith, that glorifies and exalts God and His Word , where we can continue to be faithful to the spirit of this covenant.

Our Statement of Faith

1. We believe in one holy, living, true, and infinitely intelligent God who is the Creator and Sovereign ruler of heaven, earth and the universe, that He is one in essence, eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, equal in divine holiness and perfection (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:28, 42:5, 44:24, 45:5-7, 12; Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 8:4, 2 Corinthians 13:14 ).

            a. We believe God the Father is the first person of the Godhead, and orders all things according to His divine purpose and grace (Psalm 145:8-9, Romans 8:28, 1 Corinthians 8:6), and is the Creator and absolute Ruler of His creation (Psalm 103:19, Isaiah 45:18, Romans 11:36). He is Father according to His place in the Godhead, and in His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men (Ephesians 4:6), but is Father spiritually ONLY to those who are saved (Romans 8:14, 2 Corinthians 6:18). He sovereignly and continually upholds His divine decrees, and providentially directs and controls creation and events according to His divine will and purpose.

(1 Chronicles 29:11, Job 38-39, Isaiah 46:9-10, Daniel 4:35, Matthew 6:13, Rev 4:13).

            b. We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, that He is the second person of the Godhead, possessing all the divine qualities of God and is coequal and coeternal in essence with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, and is worshipped as God (Matthew 2:2, John 1:1-2, 5:18, 8:58-59, 10:30, 33, 14:9, 2 Corinthians 5:19, Phil 2:6, Revelation 5). We believe all things were created by Him and continue to exist and operate under His authority according to the will of God the Father (John 1:3, Colossians 1:15-17, Hebrews 1:2). With the Father and Holy Spirit, He is Sovereign Lord of the universe, ruling His creation with absolute authority.

                        (1) We believe in the virgin birth and sinless humanity of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:18-20, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:22), that Christ surrendered nothing of His deity in His incarnation, but accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity, thus becoming the God-Man (John 1:14, Philippians 2:5-8, Colossians 2:9).

                        (2) We believe in the bodily resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:1-7; Mark 16:1-6; Luke 24:1-8; John 20:1-18; Acts 1:9-11).

            c. We believe the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead, and is coequal in essence and attributes with God the Father and God the Son, and is the Divine Comforter, Teacher and Administrator for Jesus Christ in His churches (Luke 24:49; John 14:16-18, 26, 15:26, 16:13; Acts 1:4-5, 8; 2:1-4). He was present and active with the Father and Son in the creation (Genesis 1:2), the incarnation (Matthew 1:18), the inspiration of Holy Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21) and in the work of salvation (John 3:5-7, 1 Peter 1:2).

2. We believe the Bible is God’s holy, infallible, verbally inspired, written revelation to man, that it is equal in all its parts, containing ONLY the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament totaling sixty-six books; that it is the plenary, all-sufficient rule of saving knowledge, faith and practice for the local church and her members; that God has and will continue to providentially preserve His written word, thereby insuring its unbroken and eternal existence

(Psalm 33:11; 119:9, 11, 89, 152, 160; Isaiah 8:20, 40:8; Matthew 5:18; Luke 16:29-31; Romans 10:17; Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:15, 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; James 1:22; 1 Peter 1:23-25).

            a. We believe God has revealed Himself to man secondarily and generally through His created universe (nature), thus leaving man without excuse in his denial of the existence of God (Romans 1:19-32, 2:14-15, Psalm 19:1-6).

            b. We believe the King James Version of the Holy Scriptures to be the best English translation available, and use it for evangelism, preaching and discipleship. 

3. We believe the gospel is the “good news” of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death, burial and bodily resurrection, and is offered freely to all human beings. We believe this to be the only true gospel and the only means and message upon which God extends His grace and saves sinners. God holds all men who hear the gospel immediately accountable and responsible to repent and believe (Luke 2:9-10; John 3:16; Acts 17:30;

1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Galatians 1:6-9; Ephesians 1:13; 1 John 2:2).

            a. We believe the vicarious suffering and death of Jesus Christ is the necessary and only atonement acceptable to God for man’s sin, and that it is sufficient for the sins of all who will repent and believe the gospel (Isaiah 53:6; Acts 4:12; Heb 2:9, 9:24-28; 1 Pet 2:24, 3:18; 2 Pet 3:9; 1 John 2:2).

4. We believe salvation is totally by God’s grace through faith, being void of any and all human works, the basis of which is redemption through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. We believe salvation becomes effectual when the sinner, upon hearing the Word of God, and through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, repents of his sins and believes the gospel, at which time he stands justified before God, who grants him a full pardon for sin and the promise of eternal life (Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3-5, 18:13-14; John 3:16-18; Acts 20:21; Romans 3:20, 4:6, 6:23, 10:17; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 1:2, 3:5-6, Psalm 34:18). We believe the soul of the truly repentant sinner is a new creation of God, whose salvation is manifested by love for God, love for the brethren, Christ-like conduct, and good works (Matthew 5:16, 22:37-39, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 16:22, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Eph 2:10, 1 Thes 1:2-4, Titus 2:14, 1 John 2:3-5, 3:14-15, 4:7-21).

            a. We believe saving faith is always accompanied by repentance of sin, and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; that saving faith is more than mere knowledge of the gospel, or even believing the gospel is true, for “the devils also believe and they tremble” (James 2:19). Saving faith places its complete trust in Jesus Christ and His gospel for salvation. 

            b. We believe justification is the divine act of God by which He declares righteous those who repent of their sins and by faith believes the gospel. (Romans 5:1, 8:33, Luke 13:3, Acts 2:38, 3:19, 11:18, Romans 2:4, 10:9-10, 1 Corinthians 12:3, 2 Corinthians 4:5, 7:10, Philippians 2:11, Isaiah 55:6-7).

            c. We believe every born-again believer is sanctified unto God by justification and is declared holy by Him, that this sanctification is positional and instantaneous, and is distinguished from progressive sanctification, which begins immediately upon justification and continues until final glorification (Acts 20:32, Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30, 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11, 3:1, 10:10, 14, 13:12, 1 Peter 1:2).

                        (1) Progressive sanctification is the systematic work of holiness by which God the Holy Spirit fashions and conforms the believer into the image of Jesus Christ, thus making that believer a partaker of God’s holiness. 

5. We believe divine discipline is the means by which God, as a loving Father, sanctifies the believer through tests of faith, rewards and blessings for faithfulness to His word and chastening for unfaithfulness against His word (Genesis 22:1-18; John 17:17, 19; Acts 5:1-11; Romans 6:1-22, 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Phil 3:20-21; Hebrews 11:17-19, 12:6-11; James 1:12; 1 John 3:2).  

            a. We believe the local church is God’s delegated and responsible agent for the discipline of its membership, the purpose of which is to glorify God through the restoration of the wayward sinner to holiness and back into fellowship with the church (Matthew 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 5:5-13, Galatians 6:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15; Titus 3:10-11).

6. We believe that all who God saves are indwelled by the Holy Spirit (John 3:6, 16:8-9, Romans 8:9-11, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Ephesians 1:13, 4:30), are kept eternally secure in Christ by the power of God, never to be lost again (John 3:36, 5:24, 6:37-40, 10:27-30, Romans 5:9-10, 8:1, 31-39, 1 Corinthians 1:4-8, Ephesians 4:30, Philippians 1:6, Hebrews 7:25, 10:29, 13:5, 1 Peter 1:3-5, Jude 1:24).

7. We believe man was created holy in the image and likeness of God with a rational mind, intelligence, and moral responsibility to God, and lived in innocence until he fell by voluntary transgression from his sinless state, at which time Adam incurred the penalty of physical and spiritual death. Through Adam’s sin every human being became inherently corrupt and sinners by choice. Consequently, ALL humanity stands guilty before God, and like Adam, subject to physical and spiritual death, and the consuming wrath of God (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7, 15-25, 3:6-24, 5:1, 9:6; Eccl 7:29; Romans 5:12, 19; James 3:9).

8. We believe in the sanctity of human life from its conception in the mothers womb to physical death; that the unborn are, at the time of conception, living, human persons  possessing their own unique identity; that the deliberate, unlawful destruction of human life at any point, including the willful destruction of the unborn by abortion, is an egregious sin against God the Creator and Life-Giver (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:7, 4:9-12, 9:5-6; Exodus 20:13; Psalm 139:1-24).

9. We believe physical death is the separation of the eternal soul from the body, at which time the redeemed passes immediately into the blessed and joyful presence of God, with no loss of consciousness (Luke 23:43, Philippians 1:23, 2 Corinthians 5:8).

            a. We believe the souls of the unsaved upon death enter a state of torment with no loss of consciousness, and are kept under punishment, in reserve for future judgment (Luke 16:19-26, Revelation 20:13-15).

10. We believe that love one for another as Jesus loves the believer reveals to the world we are His true disciples, validates our love for God, and symbolizes our identity and authority as a New Testament church; that love is God’s great commandment upon which all others depend (Matthew 22:35-40; John 13:34-35, 15:12; Colossians 2:2, 1 John 4:7-21, 5:1-3; Revelation 2:4-5).

11. We believe all things were miraculously created by God in six literal, twenty-four  hour days (Genesis 1 and 2), and dismiss as bogus the theory of evolution, the “gap theory,” and any other explanation for the origin of the universe.

12. We believe Jesus Christ established His church during His earthly ministry, and  that it was empowered by the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost; that it is always a local, visible, independent congregation of scripturally baptized believers, who are covenanted together to faithfully carry out the Lord’s commands; that Jesus Christ gave His commission to evangelize and teach all nations to New Testament churches; that it is through these churches Christ receives glory in the world, and it is to these churches Christ promised, “lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 4:18-22, 16:18, 28:19-20; Mark 1:14-20; John 1:35-51; Ephesians 3:21).

            a. We believe the local church is God’s ordained, autonomous ecclesiastical agency on earth, accountable and subservient only to Jesus Christ, who is its Head. No association, fellowship, committee, convention, pope or any other entity has or can usurp authority over the churches.

            b. We believe God intends for every born again believer to be baptized by, join and faithfully assemble with one of His churches (Acts 2:41-47). We recognize the fallibility of humanity, and acknowledge the possibility for a church to unknowingly baptize and receive an individual into its membership on the basis of a public, though bogus, profession of faith. We believe such individuals to be, as was Judas Iscariot, unregenerate, possessing no claim to eternal life. We reject as heresy any notion that baptism, church membership or any other human work, grants an individual entrance into the Kingdom of God, which only upon repentance of sin and belief in the gospel (Matthew 13:24-40, Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5).

13. We believe God has committed two ordinances to His local churches, baptism and the Lord’s Supper; that they possess and impart no saving grace, but are symbolic and illustrative of the gospel. We believe God commands all His children to faithfully observe both of these ordinances (Acts 2:37-38; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25).

            a. We believe the mode of baptism must be immersion in water, and is the repentant sinners public and solemn testimony to three things: (1) faith in the gospel, that is, the crucified, buried and risen Savior, (2) union with Christ in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-11), and (3) fellowship and identification with the local church (Acts 2:41-42). We believe three things are essential for baptism to be valid; (1) It must be administered by a valid authority, a biblical New Testament local church, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19); (2) must be a valid candidate, a repentant, born-again believer (Acts 2:41, 8:12, 36-37), and (3) a valid method and mode, immersion in water (Matthew 3:16; John 3:23, Acts 8:38).

            b. We believe the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of the Lord’s death until He returns (1 Corinthians 11:26); that it is a holy gathering and time of intimate communion between the risen Christ and the regenerate members of the local church. It is a testimony to the intimacy that exists between Christ and His church, and to the fellowship and doctrinal unity of the membership of that church.

We believe its observance cannot extend beyond the discipline of the local church (Matthew 18:15-20), so must be restricted to membership only. The elements of the supper are unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine, and represent the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Matthew 26:26-30, Mark 14:22-26, Luke 22:15-20, 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, 11:17-34).

 14. We believe there are two divinely appointed offices in the local church, pastors and deacons. While women can, should and often do serve faithfully in churches (e.g., assist when women are baptized, ministering to other women, prepare the elements for Lord‘s Supper, etc.), the ordained offices of pastor and deacon are to be filled by men only, the qualifications of which are articulated in the books of First Timothy and Titus (See also Acts 20:28-31, Eph 4:11-16, Heb 13:7, 17, 1 Peter 5:1-4).

15. We believe the miraculous spiritual manifestations or sign gifts were given to the churches temporarily during the apostolic era for the purpose of authenticating the apostolic message, and ceased upon completion of the New Testament, which provides the sole criterion for authenticating the word preached and taught. We believe faith, hope and charity to be the vital abiding spiritual gifts, and have been graciously given by God to all true believers. We believe that God has graciously gifted His churches so that they lack nothing necessary for the faithful execution of His will, distributing as He wills, on each individual, the kind and proportion of His grace (Hebrews 2:3-4, 2 Corinthians 12:12, Romans 12:3-9, 1 Corinthians 1:5-7, 13:13, Ephesians 4:11-16, 1 Peter 4:10-11).

16. We believe in the pre-millennial, personal and bodily return of Jesus Christ as the crowning event of the church age; that it will include the resurrection of the righteous to an eternal glorified state. The Millennium (1,000 year reign of Christ on earth) will be followed by the entrance of the righteous into eternal heaven with God, and the resurrection of the unrighteous unto everlasting punishment in the lake of fire (John 14:1-6, Acts 1:9-11; Revelation 19:11-16, 20:4-6, 11-15, 21:8). We believe the Lord’s Second Coming will be preceded by His gathering of His saints (rapture) prior to the “Day of the Lord,” and the outpouring of God’s final wrath on the earth (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:10).

17. We believe in a literal hell, created by God as the place of eternal torment reserved for Satan and the angels that fell from their first estate, and all humanity that does not repent of their sins and believe the gospel (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 22:13, 12:33, 25:41-46; Mark 9:42-48; Luke 16:22-25; John 5:28-29; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 1:6-7; 2 Peter 2:4, 9; Revelation 20:10-15).

18. We believe angels, like all other creatures, were created by God as His servants. Though a higher order of being, they are not gods, and are not to be prayed to or worshipped (Exodus 20:3; Luke 2:9-14; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 1:6-7; 1 John 2:1; Revelation 5:11-14, 19:9-10, 22:9).

19. We believe Satan is a fallen angel, the unholy god and prince of this world and the archenemy of God and man. At the time of Satan’s fall many other angels left their first estate and fell with him. Satan and all the fallen angels, because of their pride and rebellion against God, are condemned to eternal damnation and will one day be cast into the eternal lake of fire (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 25:41; John 12:31, 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 20:10).

20. We believe marriage is a creation of God and is intended by Him to be a life-long covenant relationship; that it must be between one man and one woman for it to be sanctioned by and legitimate before God (Genesis 2:18-25); that it is a pure and sacrificial relationship in the likeness of Christ’s relationship with His Bride, the church (Ephesians 5:21-33). We agree with Jesus who said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder”, and reject divorce for any reason other than sexual immorality and desertion by an unbelieving spouse (Matthew 5:31-32, 19:1-12; 1 Corinthians 7:15-16).

            a. We believe same-sex unions are a gross perversion of God’s design and holy standard and cannot under any circumstances be recognized as legitimate marriages (Genesis 2, Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).  

21. We believe in freedom of worship without government interference; that government has been appointed by God to maintain order in society and protect its citizens; that we are mandated by God to pray for and conscientiously obey magistrates and all in authority. We affirm our belief in civil obedience unless civil law opposes the standards set forth in God’s Holy Word (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-3; 1 Peter 2:13-15)