Jones and Bent batter Wolves
The match contained goals of all sorts as the hosts led 2-0, were pegged back to 2-2, and then drew clear again to move to 12 points.
Sunderland, who narrowly escaped relegation last season, moved level with Aston Villa, Manchester City and Arsenal on 12 points.
Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool have 15. Chelsea, who dropped points for the first time this season when they lost 3-1 at Wigan Athletic on Saturday, have 18 as do Manchester United, 2-0 winners at Stoke City.
Manchester City could climb into the top four if they beat West Ham United on Monday night.
In Sunday's only match, Sunderland led 2-0 early in the second half after two penalties following fouls on Darren Bent.
The striker converted the first after nine minutes while Kenwyne Jones took the second after 48 but Wolves hit back with two quick strikes.
The first was an own goal by John Mensah after goalkeeper Craig Gordon punched the ball straight at him and watched it fly back into the net.
Gordon then illegally handled a Kieran Richardson back pass that was heading into the net for another own goal but Wolves equalised from the subsequent free kick, Kevin Doyle ramming the ball in.
Sunderland went ahead again with a crisp Jones shot after 70 minutes, Michael Turner headed the fourth three minutes later and Bent completed the rout with a deflected fifth to take his season's tally to seven.
Sunderland face a stiff test of their early season form as they face Manchester United and Liverpool in their next two games.
Wolves stay 16th on seven points.