kick. “You get out of here,” he says to the

tomcat. “You’ve probably been up to something no good.” Knowing the tomcat he probably had.

Now, wouldn’t it have been a whole lot simpler if Mr. Sparks had simply come directly from the country club to the home of the telephone operator and kicked the cat himself. I mean, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t that have cut out a lot of in between things? That’s exactly what James is saying. James is talking about chain reactions. James is talking about the power of the tongue ,and James says, “…Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” (James 3:5). So, James is saying about the tongue, you handle the tongue with care, because one of these days every “idle word that men speak where they give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36).



II. The Iniquity of the Tongue

But, now not only does James speak to us about the influence of the tongue, like a bit, like a rudder, like a spark. But, he also speaks to us about the iniquity of the tongue, the iniquity of the tongue. Look in verses 6 through 8: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:6–8).



A. The Tongue Pollutes



And, now James, who is the master illustrator, uses several figures of speech again to describe this time, not the influence of the tongue, but the iniquity of the tongue. One of the figures of speech he uses is this: He says the tongue defiles like a broken sewer. Look at it in verse 6: “It defileth the whole body.” Defiled by your tongue. The tongue pollutes like a dripping, broken sewer pipe. The greatest ecological problem in America is the problem of words, wrongly used that defile the whole body.

Are you guilty of using filthy, dirty speech? You know, somehow today the people who are speaking the most about free speech sound like they fought at Valley Forge. And, they think that free speech means the right that they can open their mouths like a sewer, and pour out all of their filth, and all of their dirt, and all of their garbage wherever they want. And, James says the tongue pollutes, it defiles. You beware of the sewer mouth, the gutter mouth.



B. The Tongue Destroys



But, then not only that, James says not only does it defile, like a sewer, it destroys like a hellish arsonist. Look in verse 6 again. He says, “And the tongue is a fire”—and, then he says in the last part of verse 6, it—“setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” (James 3:6).

There are people