(American Standard Version)
1 Now it came to pass in those days, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be enrolled.
2 This was the first enrolment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3 And all went to enrol themselves, every one to his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David;
5 to enrol himself with Mary, who was betrothed to him, being great with child.
6 And it came to pass, while they were there, the days were fulfilled that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were shepherds in the same country abiding in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock.
9 And an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people:
11 for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this is the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.
15 And it came to pass, when the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing that is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger.
17 And when they saw it, they made known concerning the saying which was spoken to them about this child.
18 And all that heard it wondered at the things which were spoken unto them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, even as it was spoken unto them.
21 And when eight days were fulfilled for circumcising him, his name was called JESUS, which was so called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord
23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord),
24 and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 And it had been revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, that they might do concerning him after the custom of the law,
28 then he received him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 Now lettest thou thy servant depart, Lord, According to thy word, in peace;
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples;
32 A light for revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of thy people Israel.
33 And his father and his mother were marvelling at the things which were spoken concerning him;
34 and Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the falling and the rising of many in Israel; and for a sign which is spoken against;
35 yea and a sword shall pierce through thine own soul; that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.
36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher (she was of a great age, having lived with a husband seven years from her virginity,
37 and she had been a widow even unto fourscore and four years), who departed not from the temple, worshipping with fastings and supplications night and day.
38 And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks unto God, and spake of him to all them that were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 And when they had accomplished all things that were according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
40 And the child grew, and waxed strong, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
41 And his parents went every year to Jerusalem at the feast of the passover.
42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up after the custom of the feast;
43 and when they had fulfilled the days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not;
44 but supposing him to be in the company, they went a day's journey; and they sought for him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance:
45 and when they found him not, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking for him.
46 And it came to pass, after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them, and asking them questions:
47 and all that heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48 And when they saw him, they were astonished; and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I sought thee sorrowing.
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? knew ye not that I must be in my Father's house?
50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and he was subject unto them: and his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
52 And Jesus advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
God's Plan of Salvation
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel.
(2 Thess. 1:8)
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)