The Promise Fulfilled

Sermon Notes of
Reverend Harvey Alford Matney
(1868 – 1951)
February 25, 1917 – San Felipe, Texas


Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem to receive the promised Holy Spirit. This was very important to the early church. They were encouraged while Jesus was with them, but they still weren’t ready to do all that was required. After the Holy Spirit came, there was nothing that could stop them.

In this sermon, my grandfather discusses the Holy Spirit’s arrival at Pentecost. — Harrison Woodard

Acts 1:1-15 KJV
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with [them], commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, [saith he], ye have heard of me.

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas [the brother] of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

Acts 2:1-5 KJV
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

The Promise Fulfilled

Jesus’ words of comfort seemed to fall on ears dull of hearing. The disciples were too grief stricken to understand. His resurrection had filled them with great joy and they were not prepared for another to take his place.

As they saw him rise above them and ascend into heaven, the mists cleared away. New visions of life and heaven opened to them. Glory was embodied in the person of Jesus Christ.

Prayer had a new meaning. Faith found new foundations and they returned rejoicing. They began to prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

The Preparation

With one accord, one spirit, one purpose, one desire, one hope, they prayed. There was no discord in their preparation. They were expecting a great blessing, but what, or how, or when they did not know. Thus, they waited the new revelation.

Pentecost, “day of first fruits” – feast of the harvest come, the time to gather grain, and to gather souls.

It was the anniversary of the giving of the Law at Sinai. And it was a commemoration of the delivery of the Jews from Egyptian bondage. Men from every nation were in Jerusalem at that time.

It was no accident that the gospel was to be preached in Jerusalem in the power of Holy Spirit when every nation was represented there.

God knows how to spread His own gospel farther and quicker than men could do it. Hence on this birthday of the Spirit’s dispensation, Jerusalem was filled with the languages of the earth and the Spirit preached to them in their own tongue.

The Sound, The Flame, The Symbol

“A Sound” filled the house, the sound of a rushing mighty wind. This audible sign was followed by a visible “cloven tongues like as of fire sat upon each one of them”.

The wind signifying the movements of God’s Spirit: the gentle zephyr and the howling windstorm, (this was the) “Rushing Mighty Wind”.

Fire is the symbol of intense energy of the Holy Spirit. He fills the soul with glowing enthusiasm and unconquerable energy and zeal.

John the Baptist said, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” And it indicates the comfort, warmth, cheer, joy and peace, which the Holy Spirit imparts.

It expresses the purifying cleansing power of the Holy Spirit. Fire and light are the great germ killers, so the Holy Spirit kills the diseases of the soul. He always purifies the soul.

It indicates the wonderful power of revelation light has. How much of dirt, dust, (and) uncleanness not seen in the dark we see when the searchlight of the Holy Spirit is turned on us. He locates the sin as the light locates the dust in a dark cellar.


Symbol of the Tongues

I have tried to think of those tongues of fire, not as a forked tongue, but as a detached flame, standing out by itself, then settling on each of them. Try to cut a shaft of light from the sun.

The human tongue illuminated and sanctified by fire from the inner sanctuary, was about to be the instrument of the gospels advancement. Not penal law, or persecution, but the tongue.

But it must be a tongue of fire, a tongue inspired and filled with the Spirit. The best preaching says one is: “logic set on fire.”

“The fiery sword barred the old gates of Paradise, and the fiery tongue which brought salvation restored the gift,” said Saint Cyril.

This baptism of the Holy Spirit was the symbol of unity in the Church; many people, but one Spirit, many tongues, but one message.

Those who are filled with the Spirit speak to all hearts, to all characters, and to all needs.

A converted gambler earnestly advocating Christ and plowing corn or doing honest work for a living is not goose gabble.

The people recognized the unusual. Light and power flashed along the dead copper wires of the old Church and men were saved. It was divine light and power sufficient to kill and to make alive!


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