1. start with creation.
2. Proclaim God’s Judgment.
Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.
At best, though, I think we often see the proclamation of God's judgment as optional in the telling of the Gospel, and we really think it should be avoided if at all possible. But the Gospel is not the Gospel without informing people that Judgment Day is coming.
When preaching to the pagan Athenians, the Apostle Paul shows the announcement of Judgment Day to be integral to faithful Gospel proclamation:
God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead. (Acts 17:30–31)
Then [the King] will also say to those on His left, "Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41)
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16–18)
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (Romans 5:8–9)
3. The point of the Gospel is God’s glory.
When you share the Gospel, be careful not to make it sound like God's ultimate goal is to make people happy and fulfilled. His ultimate goal is the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14). If we make God's ultimate goal people's happiness, instead of His glory, we easily slide into thinking and conveying that God's glory is somehow contingent on people's happiness. It's not. It is possible for you to be miserable, and for God to be glorified.
The proclamation of the Gospel is the announcement of a coming kingdom. And God gets glory from that announcement, regardless of how people respond to it. He demonstrates the glories of His love in those who respond to the Gospel's invitation—He calls them to share in His glory! And He demonstrates the glories of His wrath in those who reject the Gospel's invitation.
The Gospel is not that God is trying to make everyone happy. We find joy and satisfaction when He saves us, but He saves us so that we may then proclaim His excellencies (1 Peter 2:9). The point of the Gospel is God's glory.
4. Eliminate Christianese.
Here's a Gospel summary I've worked on which seeks to follow these guideposts. In an effort to focus the Gospel on God, I've structured it around who God is in relation to us.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Because God made everything in the universe, it all belongs to Him. “The earth is the LORD’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.”
God made mankind, male and female, for a special purpose. He created us to reflect His glory, power, and goodness by ruling over the earth and cultivating it. We were made to worship our Creator and carry out His will on the earth.
God is our JUDGE.
But we have rebelled against our Creator. We have sinned. Instead of reflecting His glory and worshiping Him, we are filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, and evil. We are full of jealousy, murder, anger, deceit, and hate. We hate God, we are proud and selfish, we disobey our parents, we lie, and we seek to hurt other people.
Because of our sin, God says that you and I deserve to die. And unless we repent of our sins—unless we run away from them and seek to obey God with all of our heart—we will be destroyed by God’s wrath. The good news is that right now, God is patiently holding back His wrath and lovingly declaring that all people everywhere should repent. But He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man which He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.
That Man is Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is SAVIOR.
Because of God’s love for the world, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to become a man, and to save us from our sins. Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to the will of God the Father. Which is to say, Jesus was the only man who ever lived who did not deserve to die. And yet He chose to suffer the death that we deserve, the gruesome death of a murderous criminal—death on a cross. Amazingly, God says that if we repent and confess our sins—no matter how wicked those sins are—and believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for those sins, He will forgive us! He will take our guilt away and put it on Jesus, and He will take Jesus’ perfect righteousness and give it to us as a gift.
We can be sure of this promise from God because on the third day after His death, Jesus rose from the dead, showing that He has power over sin and over death!
Jesus Christ is LORD.
After His resurrection from the dead, Jesus told His followers that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him. He then commissioned those followers to advance His kingdom in the world by proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the universe, and by teaching people to obey Him.
Anyone who hears this good news and does not respond by worshiping Jesus Christ as Lord will not be saved, but will go away into eternal punishment. But if anyone who hears this good news responds by confessing with their mouth that Jesus is Lord, and by believing in their heart that God raised Him from the dead, they will be saved! And God not only promises to forgive our sins, but to freely give us the Holy Spirit to empower us to live lives of joyful obedience to God, just like Jesus did. And He promises that we too will be raised from the dead, and will have eternal life as children of God in Christ’s kingdom, which is an everlasting kingdom of freedom and joy and fellowship with our Maker, God the Father Almighty.