What is the Gospel? How can we explain it to others? Mark Dever and Paul Alexander in their book, The Deliberate Church, give a helpful explanation of the gospel:
The most important aspect of evangelism is the evangel-the Gospel, the Good News. If we are not getting the evangel right according to the Word, then whatever we’re doing, it can’t be called evangelism. So what are the essentials of evangelism? We can sum them up in four words: God, man, Christ, and response. God is our holy Creator and righteous Judge. He created us to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever (Genesis 2:7; 16-17; 18:25; Matt.25:31-33). But mankind has rebelled against God by sinning against His holy character and law (Gen. 3:1-7). We’ve all participated in this sinful rebellion, both in Adam as our representative head an in our own individual actions (I Kings 8:46; Rom. 3:23; 5:12, 19; Eph. 2:1-3). As a result, we have alienated ourselves from God and have exposed ourselves to His righteous wrath, which will banish us eternally to hell if we are not forgiven (Eph. 2:12; John 3:36; Rom. 1:18; Matt. 13:50). But God sent Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, to die the death that we deserved for our sins–the righteous for the unrighteous–so that God might both punish our sin in Christ and forgive it in us (John 1:14; Rom 3:21-26; 5:6-8; Eph. 2:4-6). The only saving response to this Good News is repentance and belief (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 3:7-9; John 20:31). We must repent of our sins (turn from them and to God) and believe in Jesus for forgiveness of our sins and reconciliation to God.
God, man, Christ, response. Remember–it’s not evangelism without the evangel (51-52).
We can talk to a lot of people; we can have a lot of discussions over coffee and talk about family, philosophy, the weather and even the Bible. But if we are not giving people the Gospel, let us not fool ourselves into thinking that we are actually practicing evangelism. Let’s know the Gospel. Let’s preach the Gospel.