I call this a recipe, because I won't presume to know it always works this way. But it worked this way for me, and I know it usually works this way for others. Those who truly get the gospel -- the ones who don't look at you blankly or dully when you talk about the gospel -- typically have received gospel wakefulness via this "perfect storm":
Personal brokenness (usually through a personal crisis or a "bottoming out" of some sort) PLUS Hearing the gospel proclaimed MULTIPLIED BY The illuminating work of the Holy Spirit
This is one reason why the point of my messages is pretty much the same every single week. I never know when someone's personal brokenness has come or is coming. I just keep throwing the seed out and pray that previously rocky soil has been made fertile by brokenness and the Holy Spirit.